President Saakashvili said in his annual state of the nation address to the Parliament on March 15 that the terms “Georgian-Abkhazian conflict” and “Georgian-Ossetian conflict” have been “created by silly and unaware people.”
“What does the Georgian-Ossetian conflict mean? Who represents the Ossetian side? Does Mr. [Yuri] Morozov [Russian citizen who serves as prime minister of breakaway South Ossetia] represent the Ossetian side? Or does Mr. [Anatoly] Barankevych [also Russian citizen who was defense minister of breakaway South Ossetia] represent the Ossetian side? Or does Dimitri Sanakoev [Tbilisi-loyal self-imposed leader of South Ossetia] represent the Ossetian side? Do the Georgian and Ossetian sides exist at all? Several of the most famous kings of Georgia were ethnic Ossetians. The Georgian-Ossetian conflict does not exist at all. This is one more fabrication by imperial ideologists,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that same refers to the Abkhaz case, where Malkhaz Akishbaia, head of the Tbilisi-loyal Abkhaz government-in-exile, is ethnic Abkhazian.
He also criticized the current Russian-led peacekeeping and negotiating arrangements for the conflicts as “discredited and ineffective” and called for “a smooth transformation into more flexible and effective formats.”
“Of course, we seek more active involvement from the European institutions and the United States in it [peace process]… Everybody understands that [the current peacekeeping and negotiating format’s] preservation in its current form is practically impossible,” Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili reiterated that Tbilisi is ready to grant both Abkhazia and South Ossetia “broad autonomy in compliance with European standards.”
He also said that the Georgian side should demonstrate “enough patience and flexibility” in order to avoid provocations and tensions.
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