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FM Pushes Forward Occupation Issues at UN High-level Meeting

By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Thursday, April 26
On 25 April, Vice Premier and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze took part in “High-Level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace" organized by the UN. The overarching objective of the High-Level Meeting is to assess efforts undertaken and opportunities to strengthen the work of the UN on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. As specific objectives, the meeting also reflected on how to:

- Respond to the renewed emphasis on conflict prevention and on addressing the root causes of conflicts to sustain peace;

- Strengthen operational and policy coherence including through accountable leadership, and improved capacity across the United Nations system in support of peacebuilding and sustaining peace;

- Increase, restructure and better prioritize funding to United Nations peacebuilding activities; Strengthen partnerships for peacebuilding and sustaining peace among the United Nations and key stakeholders in the field at the country, regional and global levels;

- Enhance and strengthen the role of women and youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts.

In the first part of his speech, Janelidze talked about the violation facts of human rights in the occupied territories of Georgia, which is caused by isolation of these territories. The Minister continued with discussing Georgia's policy for conflict resolution: “

Ceasing the mandate of the United Nations Observer and OSCE Missions in Georgia, created an international vacuum in the occupied regions, where kidnapping and murder is a norm. A month ago, Archil Tatunashvili, who crossed the occupation line, was detained and killed by the occupation regime in Tskhinvali region. Before this, in Abkhazia, there was also another murder of Giga Otkhozoria, another internally displaced person- the murderer wasn't detained. Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons are not allowed to return to their home, and those who stayed in the occupied territories are victims of discrimination and violation of their fundamental rights,” Janelidze said.

The Minister expressed the strong position of the Georgian Government for peaceful resolution of the conflict and thanked the international community for supporting Georgia in the process of resolving the problem of the occupied territories.

Janelidze mentioned the initiative of the Government “Step towards the Better Future” and presented the basic principles of the project, which is to help the communication between the citizens living along the occupation line and to deliver them the opportunities Georgia gained in the process of reforms and EU integration: ”Despite all the provocations and barriers, in the framework of reconciliation and engagement policy, the Government of Georgia is making courageous steps to restore economic contacts and improve the communication between the citizens living along the administrative boundary line. This is an ambitious initiative and Georgia government doesn't politicize it. We appreciate the support of international community towards this initiative and we hope for your active engagement in this process," Janelidze said.

Georgia's policy of reconciliation is a logical and rational step. It can't change the attitude of political elites of occupied territories, but it is not a secret that there are no political elites in Abkhazia and in so-called "South Ossetia" but only de-facto governments, appointed by Russia. The biggest part of the budget of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali depends on Russia's direct financial assistance. Therefore, Georgia's intention to work on public reconciliation is justified because Russia’s political interests, negotiations between the Georgian government and the representatives of de-facto governments of occupied territories won’t be efficient, but the process of civic reconciliation is the step towards the conflict resolution process.