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Italian MP Matteo Mecacci Visits Georgia

Friday, May 18
With a reference to the article published yesterday on our newspaper “S. Ossetia denies return of OSCE monitoring mission”, Hon. Matteo Mecacci has kindly requested us to publish the following article, underlining that in his interview to Maestro TV he never stated that the OSCE field Mission to Georgia will be re-established in July 2012.

TBILISI, 16 MAY 2012 - The Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Matteo Mecacci, Chairman of the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, has paid a three-day visit to Georgia following an invitation from the Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Mr. George Tsereteli. The visit of the Italian politician focused on the situation of human rights in the country, with a particular emphasis on the living conditions of the thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) living in Georgia as a result of the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, on the situation of convicted people in the penitentiary establishments and on the electoral context in the frame of the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled in October 2012.

Hon. Mecacci had various meetings with several colleagues from the Parliament of Georgia, including representatives from the majority and the opposition. He also met representatives of the Georgian Government, including Vice-Prime Minister of Georgia and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze and Minister for Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia Koba Subeliani. He also met the Deputy Public Defender of Georgia, Ms. Tata Khuntsaria, and the leader of the Republican Party David Usupashvili as well as some other representatives of the coalition “Georgian Dream”.

The Italian guest, with the Italian Ambassador Federica Favi, visited the collective center of Mukhiani and the settlement of Tserovani, where he met with refugees settled there. He then went to see the situation at the administrative border line with South Ossetia. Other events included a visit to the penitentiary establishment of Gldani, a lecture to the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University about “the role of the OSCE in Promoting Democracy and Protecting Human Rights” and a tribute to the memory of the Italian journalist Antonio Russo, murdered in Georgia in October 2000.

“I was really impressed by the warm hospitality I have received here in Georgia – commented Mr Mecacci – and by the very open attitude shown without exceptions by all my interlocutors while discussing important issues in the context of OSCE and broader international relationships as well as the state of bilateral relationships between Italy and Georgia. I am convinced that Georgia has a lot of potential in terms of democratic and economic development. I mainly came here to listen and see, but I was also able to deliver the message that the international community stands behind Georgia in its way forward. The Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE in the resolution approved last year in Belgrade has called for the reopening of an OSCE field mission in Georgia and I believe that all OSCE Member States should support this goal with the aim of protecting the rights of the people who are still suffering after the 2008 conflict. OSCE will be also committed in assisting the country with international monitoring of the electoral process, as it is well shown by the needs-assessment mission which is going to be sent in June to Georgia. I can guarantee that the evaluation of the observers will be an objective one”.