New Abkhazia – South Ossetia “Opening” of Georgia?, by Mitat Çelikpala
Department of International Relations
TOBB Economy and Technology University
Kafsam (The Caucasian Center for Strategic Studies) Policy Brief 1001
January 7, 2010
Georgia unveils "new strategy" for Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Georgia is hinting at potential steps that it might take towards "reestablishing" "constructive" relationships with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgian Minister Temuri Yakobashvili stated that the Parliament is preparing a 9 page strategy document. The full text of this document was not disclosed, as it has not been approved by the government in office yet. It is stated that the main title of the document is "Government Strategy Concerning Territories under Occupation", with the subtitle "Engagement through Cooperation". Efforts towards implementation of the document are aimed to start on January 1, 2010 and be completed by July 31.
Yakobashvili indicated that the goal of the new strategy is to reestablish healthy relationships between peoples separated by the borders drawn and to vest equal and universal rights to all citizens of Georgia, including those who are settled in Abkhazia and Tskhinval (not South Ossetia), that is, Abkhazians and Ossetians. The strategy is indicated to encompass some steps with economic, educational, health related, and cultural dimensions, as well as envisaging diplomacy and interaction between peoples (not use of arms).
It is stated that the Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey is aimed to be contacted in an attempt to revitalize cultural relations. Yakobashvili said that the diaspora in Turkey is persuaded into a negative perspective of Georgia and this is aimed to be cleared off with the new strategy.
Mitat Çelikpala of TOBB ETU University says that the "new Georgian strategy should be evaluated with caution. Especially the diaspora front’s being stressed again prompts the diaspora in Turkey to consider the matter with utmost care. While the full text of the document is not yet available, some signals of change in Georgian attitude that is partially imposed by the conditions, can be seen. This "long" overdue cooperative approach is unlikely to be received favorably unless the title of the document and the terminology used are changed. Given the conditions under which it is not possible for Abkhazia and Ossetia to back down from their independence, this document is not likely to bring the concerned parties to a positive standing."
For a full assessment of the "new" strategy, please see the Policy Brief prepared by Mr. Çelikpala:
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