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President visit villages affected by “borderization” process

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, October 14
“[It is] a shameful Iron Curtain that is dividing our country, our communities, our people...” President Mikheil Saakashvili said. He arrived in the village of Dvani, one of the villages divided by the metal fences Russian forces have built along the occupation line with the breakaway South Ossetia region.

The president said that Russia is gradually annexing the country and Georgia has to respond to these illegal actions and the response has to be calm but firm at the same time. “The Russian Federation is, day after day, week after week, annexing new Georgian lands and the line of occupation is advancing more and more towards the center of our nation, threatening to cut one day the Baku-Supsa pipeline or our main highway… We should react to this in a concerted and coordinated manner, with calm obviously, but also with firmness,” Saakashvili said. He also added that in order to coordinate actions with the government, he tried to call a National Security Council meeting. However, the president's initiative was snubbed by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili as well as parliament Chairman Davit Usupashvili, who referred to the initiative as a PR stunt.

Saakshvili is sure that Russia is putting Georgia’s strength and capacity to a test and in order to resist the occupants, the country needs to stand together and the government has to act in a coordinated manner. “I do believe that our differences are not as important as our joint commitment to our sovereignty, the independence and the European fate of our nation. And I do believe that we are all equally appalled by what the Russians are doing there and that we are all seeking the best way to respond to it,” the president stated.

Commenting on Olympic Games, Saakashvili said that Georgians should not participate as the politicization of the games by Russia is inevitable. “We can all agree I hope that no official representatives of the Georgia should go to the Games held by the occupier.” Saakashvili said. “A divided nation is a weak nation,” he said and called all citizens to unite regardless of their political preferences.

While the president calls on the government to cooperate, Georgian ministers are trying to expand the international community’s involvement in the matter. On October 10th, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze addressed the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna and once again brought up the problem of occupation to the council’s attention.

International and local NGOs gathered at the Ministry of Internal Affairs on October 11th. The meeting was initiated by the Information-Analytical Department.

Representatives from 35 non-governmental organizations discussed the process of installing barbed wire fences and entrenchments along the occupation line. Participants agreed to hold similar meetings in the future between the government and non-governmental sector. Representatives of the department explained that a similar format of the meeting is very effective and it is important to keep the non-governmental sector updated on the situation in the conflict regions.

The temporary state commission chaired by the Minister of Reintegration, Paata Zakareishvili, informed local residents about the planned projects to maximally eliminate the aftermath of the “borderization” process. The commission will finish its work in the villages within a couple days and will summarize its work at its session planned to take place on October 15th.