I'm afraid that time will come and we will realize Saakashvili was right – Paata Zakareishvili
05 January, 2014
I'm afraid that time will come and we will realize Saakashvili was right – Paata Zakareishvili
We're not going to impose ourselves or anything on Abkhazians and Ossetians. They do not have a big choice – they can only choose between Russia and Georgia, the Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Issues, Paata Zakareishvili, told the Russian BBC.
"But we can also offer them another choice - not Russia or Georgi
a, but Russia or Europe. Georgia’s European aspirations and not the European Union will promote conflict resolution," said the Minister.
He said, of course, it's a long process, but Georgia can offer the whole package of democratic institutions to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, for example, independent judiciary, protection of human rights of everyone and of minorities.
"Now everything is Russian in Abkhazia and South Ossetia - Russian language, Russian culture, Russian TV, Russian army, while we can offer them not Georgian, but their own values. We need to offer them freedom of choice," Paata Zakareishvili said.
According to him, direct negotiations are in the interest of Abkhazians and Ossetians. Zakareishvili said Georgia was ready for talks without any preconditions.
"Unfortunately, they raised preconditions. When Saakashvili was saying that relationship with them had no sense and they are not a party but only the puppets of Russia, it used to make them angry. Now, when we are offering relations to them, they are raising preconditions. You know, I'm afraid that time will come and we will realize Saakashvili was right. I do not want this to happen," said the State Minister.
However, he said, there is still time and the Georgian side still has patience. As Zakareishvili noted problems are really great and Abkhazians and Ossetians want to live in better conditions.
"We continually hear complains about free movement and other problems. We are ready to help, if it depends on us. We’re ready to minimize political issues and focus on humanitarian issues. But where shall we discuss these problems when there is no direct talks," the Minister said.
In addition, the Minister said the Geneva talks are talks between Russia and Georgia, the format of which was specially created after the Russia-Georgia war.
"Yes, we are talking about the conflict areas, but not with them but with Moscow. If it's acceptable to them, then it's ok, but personally I am not satisfied with this. I believe that apart from the Geneva talks, where the Russian context is dominating, we need a direct dialogue", said Zakareishvili.
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