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Tbilisi urges to use name ‘Georgia’ instead of ‘Gruzia’

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, June 28
Tbilisi has urged the countries which use a Russian-derived 'Gruzia' as a name for the Republic of Georgia, to switch to using the English name of Georgia instead. Speaking at Monday’s press briefing, the deputy Georgian Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said Tbilisi has already sent the request to foreign states. “We have initiated this long ago and have officially requested many states to change old name Gruzia with an official English name Georgia,” Kalandadze told reporters.

According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Korea has already reacted to Tbilisi’s request and substituted Gruzia with Georgia. “The decision of Korea is especially important for us, because many of our friendly and supportive states have not been able to make the change despite reiterated promises,” the Deputy Minister noted “However, we understand that changing a name of the state is linked with certain technical and financial issues,” Kalandadze said, adding that Georgia will continue efforts in order to establish name Georgia instead of Gruzia in all countries.

In February last year, Lithuania has refused to substitute Gruzia with Georgia. Lithuania’s State Committee for the Lithuanian language said it considered an appeal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. “The committee can see neither a judicial, nor a scientific basis for changing the name of this country from Gruzia to Georgia in the Lithuanian language,” Rezonansi newspaper quoted a head of the committee, Regina Doelene as saying. In December 2009, Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze requested his Lithuanian counterpart to consider using Georgia instead of Gruzia, saying that Georgia is the historic native name of the country, while Gruzia is a Slavic rendering.

At yesterday’s press briefing, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that in response to the International Court of Justice’s requirement, made on April 1, the Georgian side will hand in a note to the Russian side through the Swiss Embassy about Georgia’s readiness to launch a dialogue with Russia. “The Georgians side hopes, that the settlement of the dispute will be possible through dialogue. If the dialogue brings no results, the Georgian side retains a right to apply to the court again,” Kalandadze said “Georgia has been trying to hold a dialogue with Russia through diplomatic channels before and after the August 2008 war in order to settle a dispute through dialogue. However, this initiative of Georgia was not successful, but as the International Court of Justice recommended a dialogue, we will hand in a respective note to the Swiss embassy,” she added.

As for the Geneva talks, which currently is the only place where Georgia and Russia sit at the negotiations table, Kalandadze noted that Tbilisi “does not see any sense” in continuing the Geneva format meetings, if Russia “does not eradicate problematic issues.” “The Georgian government is concerned with the increase of the number of Russian troops on Georgia’s occupied territories. At the same time it is concerned with the fact that the Russian Federation is plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks on Georgian territory,” the Deputy Minister said, adding that the Geneva format meetings are being held to prevent such cases. “If such problematic issues are not eradicated, then Georgia will not see a sense in continuing Geneva talks. We are waiting for the international community and first of all the Geneva negotiations co-chairs to pressure Russia,” she said.

Kalandadze briefed reporters about the resolution, which will be put to a vote at the UN General Assembly on June 29. A resolution on the status of the IDPs from Abkhazia and South Ossetia is put on voting with the Georgia’s initiative every year. “Our aim is for many states to join this resolution and to put pressure on Russian federation. This resolution does not have a political content. It is a humanitarian one, which envisages honorable and secure return of the IDPs to their homes,” the Deputy Minister noted.