Interviews

Vakhtang Kolbaia: "Abkhazia will be a side where future generation will have a normal life and opportunity to develop"

The Georgian participants of the Geneva negotiations are preparing for the next round. What issues they discuss in Geneva? What are the results of negotiations and UN resolutions at different levels in terms of returning IDPs from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions to their homes?

Chairman of the Government of Abkhazia Vakhtang Kolbaia

"Akhali Taoba" states that co-chairs of Geneva format will arrive in Tbilisi these days and they will hold meetings in Sokhumi and with the central government of Georgia.

- Mr. Vakhtang, as I know, you are preparing for the next round of Geneva negotiations, and in what terms do you work?

- These days the co-chairs of the Geneva format will arrive. They will hold meetings in Sokhumi as well as in Tbilisi. We agree with the positions we need to work on. We will discuss social issues that are in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. I want to go forward in certain issues. I want to have the result of return of IDPs, but unfortunately we do not have to move forward in return of IDPs.

- Will you be able to speak of damage to cultural monuments?

- The topic of cultural heritage is very painful. We had some progress in the Geneva format negotiations, but unfortunately, the negotiations on this issue were suspended on the last round. We hope that the process will go on the next round of negotiations.

- Mr. Vakhtang, UN has adopted a number of resolutions on return of refugees to their homes. According to the latest resolution, the number of IDPs returning countries has increased. However, there are still much countries not supporting. I am surprised by the fact that among the countries that did not vote for the return of Georgian refugees in the cities I found Belarus. More recently, the President of Belarus visited Georgia and established a good relationship. One of the high officials of this day has arrived. The agreements have been signed with them and the implementation of common projects is planned. Why it is hard to make Belarus to be supporter?

- We should take into consideration that Belarus is one of the countries in the post-Soviet space, Year did not recognize independence. It maintains a healthy and positive attitude towards Georgia. When the President of Belarus arrived, I met him and thanked for that. In addition, there are some moments when we cannot support them because they do not want to strain the situation with Russia. So in this situation we have to work with Belarus. It is necessary to convince them of how unrecognizable they are in Abkhazia. There may be more support in the face of such political and economic relations.

- In general, what is the preparatory process in this regard?

- The process is quite dynamic and positive for Georgia, which is primarily the merit of our diplomatic services. They work in the international community, embassies, UN countries and international institutions that can influence their countries. Gradually the number of countries who support our problem is increasing - that is internally displaced persons' return to their homes. Also, the numbers of countries that were not supporters have been gradually reduced.

There are countries where we expect more support than refusal and denial, but in the last 3-4 years, there is a positive dynamic in this regard. This requires serious work because the interests of countries are intertwined. Every country has its own interest and, in the interest of its interest, seeks to make a decision that will not harm him at international level or in bilateral relations. Someone reports Russia and vote against IDPs in Abkhazia, some report that it has a problem and can support our support in regulating internal processes. The processes developed in Spain will be useful in the future.

- Are the developments in Spain affecting the rest of the world?

In addition to a small exception, all European countries have condemned and negatively adopted Catalonia autonomy, which will have a positive impact and will pour water on our mill, in terms of negative assessment of the activities of separatist regions.

- You probably know that Russia's steps have been discovered in events in Spanish Catalonia autonomy, which means Russia is trying to intervene in the internal processes of all countries where they have access.

- Such actions of the Kremlin are incomprehensible. This is not good for Russia, but because the Kremlin is trying to solve problems (Chechnya could be the example), it may be necessary to intervene in Spanish autonomy problems to satisfy his little interests. However, in the end, Russia should not be bound to intervene because it is not the most advantageous thing in Catalonia.

- Can anyone think that this resolution does not have a mandatory nature and what is the significance of whether the UN will adopt a resolution? Such resolutions probably have meaning for the general process. What do you mean, what are the UN resolutions on IDPs' return?

- This is the topic that sometimes occurs. UN Resolutions, of course, are important. The number of countries for which the separatism is unacceptable is reduced. In Catalonia, are trying to do the thing what happened in Scotland. However, in Scotland it had legal framework. In Catalonia, the Constitutional Court of Spain refused to hold a referendum. The referendum on the independence of autonomies with the Spanish Constitution is prohibited.

In Abkhazia, three thirds were driven out and then held referendum. One of the UN resolutions evaluated the population of Abkhazia from an anti-human, anti-international law. Remarks made by the United Nations on the return of IDPs are reminiscent of this. That's why it's important to have more support in this process.

- As you know, the Baltic States did not recognize the West as part of the USSR for years that is why they made it easier for them to gain independence. Hopefully, the United Nations Resolutions and the support of the countries of the world will help in the de-occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region.

- Different processes are developing. The support of the international community and the efforts of the country is directed towards not only violence but also to convince the Abkhazians that a living together is a guarantor of Abkhazians in their culture, Abkhazian language, which will enable them to build a prosperous country in Georgia. As a result Abkhazia will be a side where the next generation will have a normal life and opportunity to develop. The international community is trying to do this.

- What are the processes developing?

- I mean the influence of the Sokhumi government, the UN, the EU resolutions, at various levels.

- Are their planned any joint projects?

- No. The international community is trying to find the topics on which Abkhazians and Georgians will have a common interest.

- For example?

-In the protection of nature, cultural heritage and others, where we can form a joint vision to solve the problem. We tried to work jointly on the problem of brown marmorated stink bug and Boxwood problem. Boxwood damaged in Abkhazia and here.

- So we help Abkhazians to save the boxwood?

- We do not refuse when international organizations help. These are the problems that concern the population of the occupied territories and part of the population living there too.

Guliko Baladze
"Akhali Taoba"

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