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Reintegration ministry to change its name

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, March 12
Minister of Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili initiated a move to change the name of his ministry. The reason for such a change is that Sokhumi and Tskhinvali separatist regimes do not like the name “reintegration.”

This idea is supported by the Georgian Dream coalition. However, acting President Mikheil Saakashvili and the oppositional United National Movement (UNM) do not agree with this approach, thus presumably so long as Saakashvili remains the president, the ministry will not be renamed.

Whatever the name, it is hard to predict what the change of the name will bring. Minister Zakareishvili has recently announced about Saakashvili’s blocking his initiative.

It should be mentioned that official representatives of the separatist regions say they will not negotiate with the minister of Georgia for reintegration.

When in July, 2008, Saakashvili appointed then minister of reintegration Temur Iakobashvili as his personal envoy for relations with separatist regimes, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali refused to have any contacts with Iakobashvili– mostly because of the name of the ministry.

Minister Zakareishvili said that he was always against using this name “reintegration” for the ministry. He also confirmed his commitment for changing the name of the ministry.

In November of 2012, the new Georgian government adopted the suggestion to rename the ministry. However, Saakashvili refused to sign this decision.

The new name of the ministry has not yet been revealed.

Certain analysts suggest the name “conflict” would be proposed for the ministry instead of reintegration. UNM MP Shota Malashkhia criticizes this step and offers an even more aggressive approach to renaming the ministry– “de-occupation.”

Some analysts support the idea of renaming the ministry, and consider this step as a move directed at reconciliation, which will eventually lead to melting down the situation with these frozen conflicts.

Tbilisi has always labeled the conflict as “Georgian-Russian” ignoring the Abkhazian and Ossetian sides, calling them “puppets”. Now the situation could be changed.

However, it should be mentioned that it is difficult to suppose that this step will bring serious results because during Eduard Shevardnandze’s presidency, Tbilisi spoke with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali in a friendlier tone, but no viable results were achieved.