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Ivanishvili ready to start direct dialogue with Abkhazia and South Ossetia

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, August 12
“We are ready for direct dialogue with our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers. I am convinced we will find common language to build common relations in the future,” Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said in a speech the fifth anniversary of the August War in 2008.

Ivanishvili delivered the speech in Gori, after the oath-taking ceremony of the 760 newly enlisted soldiers. According the PM, to solve the conflict with Abkhazia and S. Ossetia, Georgia will have to find strength to forgive and also to admit its mistakes.

“We must correct what is still correctable. The present state of affairs cannot persist much longer.” Ivanishvili declared.

The PM said that unfortunately Georgia has “its share of responsibility for letting things develop the way they did” and the government should “draw the right conclusion from these tragic days in Georgian history and set a properly calculated plan for the future.”

“I am convinced that our consistent policy will enable us to restore in full the peaceful relations between the Georgians and the Ossetians and the Georgians and the Abkhazians,” Ivanishvili said, adding that the country’s democratic development and economic growth will help to convince Abkhazians and Ossetians that Georgia is their homeland.

Ivanishvili believes that despite the armed aggression Russia carried out against Georgia and occupying its territories, Georgia has to find forms of relations with Russia. “Good will among our people gives us a hope that this process will develop positively,” the Georgian PM stated.

The PM regrets however, that Russia has not replied adequately to the efforts of the Georgian government, which launched direct dialogue with Russia aiming to solve concrete issues.

“Unfortunately, we cannot find an explanation for the fact of the barbwire placed further into the territory of our country. This is not an adequate answer to the steps taken by our government towards normalizing relations. Nonetheless, we remain calm and continue to consistently implement our pragmatic policy,” Ivanishvili said.

Unlike Ivanishvili who seems to be very hopeful about the future relations with the break-away regions, the South Ossetian de-facto government does not see much possibility in settling relations with the Georgian government.

According to the de-facto foreign Ministry of the breakaway region ( of Tskhinvali ), the new government of Georgia and its policy is not much different from its predecessor. In the statement the de-facto ministry released on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the war, it is said that the course Georgia’s new government is following is not much different from the policy of their predecessors and the government still does not show any intention to “recognize the existing reality.” In the statement Georgia is accused of attempting to mislead the international community through misinterpretations and manipulation of facts to portray itself as a victim of the Russian aggression.

Dimitri Sanakoev, Head of the South Ossetian Administration formed by President Mikheil Saakashvili, believes that the only way to restore the territorial integrity of Georgia is settling relations with Russians and also convincing the Abkhazian and Ossetian people that they will have a better life as a part of Georgia rather than as an independent states. In his interview with the newspaper Kvela Siakhle, Sanakoev said that if Georgia and Russia finally negotiate, the country will return its territories within a month, but no negotiation is possible until Vladimir Putin is holding the post of the President in Russia. He also said that Ivanishvili and his government will not be able to solve the problem with the breakaway regions; they simply will not have enough time.