The Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia would like to respond to the recent discussion among the public concerning Georgian-Russian relations as well as to the statements made by Georgia's highest-ranking officials and their reaction to yet another aggressive action committed by the Russian Government.
Keeping in mind Archil Tatunashvili's death under ambiguous circumstances and the protracted process of handing over his body, we welcome the release of Ioseb Pavliashvili and Levan Kutashvili, which would have been impossible without the efforts made by the Georgian public and the countries friendly to Georgia. We welcome the resolution planned to be passed by the European Parliament as a result of the Georgian delegation's activities, the US State Department's support for Georgia as well as the firm position assumed by the representatives of various European institutions and countries with regard to the Russian Government's aggressive actions. Despite the attempts by all those involved, Archil Tatunashvili's body has not yet been handed over to his family, which extremely aggravates this tragedy. Russia, as an occupying country, is fully responsible for what happened. This once again shows that Russia is an aggressor manipulating human tragedies.
Against this background, the Georgian prime minister's most recent statement in which he calls on Russia to have a "constructive approach" to the direct dialogue with Abkhazians and Ossetians in the context of Geneva International Discussions, is difficult to understand. In the same context, his message regarding the readiness to "take other reasonable steps" is no less ambiguous. It is incomprehensible what the Georgian Government is trying to achieve by making such statements. The expectation, if such exists, that Russia will suddenly change its approach to Georgia and start carrying out responsible policy is exaggerated. This is why this statement does not correspond to the prevailing state of affairs and rather resembles a statement by a government which does not have a concrete plan of addressing the challenges of Georgian-Russian relations. The prime minister's statement sent an ambiguous message to the public, suggesting that there is still a realistic chance that Russia will relinquish its aggressive intentions regarding Georgia, act out of consideration for our country's interests and "allow" us to regain our lost territories.
Confirming all of the above is the statement made yesterday by the Information Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the Georgian prime minister's address. The statement was of both cynical and threatening content rather than a positive response to the cooperation offered by the Georgian prime minister.
At present, the public receives incoherent information about Georgian-Russian relations and the government's plans. The government's messages are not clear, causing confusion and the feeling of powerlessness among the public. The existing format of Geneva negotiations is an important platform in which Georgia's international partners participate. This format allows Georgia to try and peacefully settle the Russian-Georgian conflict together with the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the OSCE. Against this background, the so-called Abashidze-Karasin format initiated by Georgia lacks transparency and, occasionally, raises questions as to the purpose of this format, what issues are being discussed behind closed doors and what significant results have or have not been achieved as a result of this activity and why? This kind of non-transparent format which does not involve international actors could involve significant risks for Georgia's interests. The Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia:
Calls upon the Georgian government to provide the public with concrete information about the vision of addressing the prevailing challenges and the corresponding plans with regard to future relations with Russia.
Welcomes the discussion in Parliament of Georgia concerning the adoption of an extraordinary resolution. We call on the parties to put aside their disagreements and join their efforts as soon as possible to pass a resolution defending Georgia's interests which, in addition to evaluating the actions of the occupying regime of the Russian Federation and the agencies under its effective control, will also aim to introduce effective sanction instruments to respond to the crimes that they commit.
Transparency International Georgia
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Atlantic Council of Georgia
Georgian Young Lawyers' Association
Georgian Democracy Initiative
Media Development Foundation
Economic Policy Research Center
Center for Investigative Journalism and Advocacy
Georgia's Reforms Associates (GRASS)
UN Association of Georgia
Society and Banks