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PACE monitoring committee Chairman visits Tbilisi

By Mzia Kupunia
Wednesday, December 22
As Chairman of Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), Dick Marty paid a one-day work visit to Tbilisi on December 21, following a visit to Moscow on the previous day. In Tbilisi, he met a newly appointed Minister for Reintegration, Eka Tkeshelashvili, a newly appointed Secretary of National Security Council, Giga Bokeria as well as the members of the Georgian Delegation to the Council of Europe.

According to Tkeshelashvili, the sides discussed the possibilities of returning the IDPs to Georgia’s occupied territories. “The main subject of our meeting was returning the people, who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of ethnic cleansing, back to their original dwelling places. It is impossible to talk about human rights on the occupied territories in any context if this issue is not a main subject,” Tkeshelashvili said after the meeting. The Reintegration Minister said the issue of returning IDPs to their homes is the “most important issue” in judicial, political and human terms.

Despite the attempts of Moscow to remove the separate “war file” [about “consequences of war between Georgia and Russia”] from the agenda of PACE, it will not be able to do so, head of the Georgian delegation to the Council of Europe, Petre Tsiskarishvili told journalists after the meeting with Dick Marty.

He noted that Moscow is “constantly trying” to remove the issue of Russia’s obligations envisaged in the resolutions adopted by the Council of Europe after the August 2008 war, from the agenda. With this aim, the Russian delegation drafted a resolution project, envisaging that the monitoring in this direction would be conducted individually in Russia and Georgia and not become a subject of discussion in the Council of Europe,” Tsiskarishvili pointed out. He told journalists that the Georgian side will only agree on this initiative if the results of the monitoring are discussed in the Monitoring Committee once every 6 months and once a year would be taken to the Session of PACE for discussion.

“Thanks to our supporters, the Russian project did not get any support in the CoE. I am sure that despite many attempts, Russia will not be able to remove the war file from the agenda in the future as well,” he noted. According to Tsiskarishvili, PACE Monitoring Committee will hold a special conference devoted to the Russian-Georgian war and the current relations of the two countries in mid-January. “At this event it will be determined in which format the Russian-Georgian relations will continue on the agenda of the CoE,” he said.

Meanwhile, information agency Regnum reported, that the representatives of Tskhinvali and Sukhumi de facto representatives have not been invited to the PACE Monitoring Committee hearing planned for January 17. Regnum reported that the chairman of International Committee at the Russian Duma, Konstantin Kosachev told journalists about it. “Dick Marty was ready to meet the representatives of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali representatives, however sadly, not everyone in the Monitoring Committee agreed with this idea,” Kosachev noted.