About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 11:42 - 24 Oct.'17
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
Abkhazia Status Quo Challenged
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Jul.'06 / 14:20

The Georgian authorities have shattered a 13-year-old status quo in Abkhazia after stationing its official government representatives in the Tbilisi-controlled high mountainous Kodori Gorge, which is situated in the middle of the unrecognized republic. The move has triggered the concerns of both Sokhumi and Moscow.

Official Tbilisi will be represented in the upper Kodori Gorge by its troops, described as “police forces,” and by the Abkhaz government-in-exile, which has up to now been based in Tbilisi.

Kodori Gorge stretches from the administrative border  that seperates breakaway Abkhazia and Georgia’s Svaneti region in the north, down towards the southwest into the middle of the unrecognized republic. The gorge is currently divided by a Russian peacekeeping troops’ checkpoint, which seperates the Georgian-administered upper Kodori and the Abkhaz-controlled lower part of the gorge.

Upper Kodori Gorge, populated with an ethnic Georgian population, was the only part of the breakaway region out of the secessionist authorities’ control after the end of the armed confrontation in Abkhazia in 1993. The Monadire (Hunter) paramilitary group, which was formed by Georgian residents of Kodori Gorge after the armed conflict broke out in 1992, served as the protector of the gorge from a potential Abkhaz offensive. But the Abkhaz side and Kodori-based Monadire unit had a “gentleman’s agreement” not to initiate any offensives against each other. Tbilisi’s authority in the gorge was only nominal throughout these years.

The situation changed on July 25, when the Georgian authorities sent troops to Kodori to crack down on Monadire militiamen, led by the former governor of the gorge Emzar Kvitsiani, who announced his defiance against Tbilisi on July 22.

Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili admitted in an interview with Rustavi 2 television, recorded in Kodori Gorge, that the Georgian authorities planned to restore full control over the gorge even before Kvitsiani made his announcement.

“I told Kvitsiani that we were giving him one week's time to leave the gorge; otherwise, I threatened that this would happen [sending of troops],” Okruashvili, dressed in a military uniform, said in the interview.

It is yet unclear how many police will be deployed in upper Kodori Gorge.

President Saakashvili announced on July 27 that Kodori Gorge will become the “provisional legitimate administrative center of Abkhazia,” with the exiled Abkhaz authorities’ headquarters there.

Based in Tbilisi since 1993, the exiled Abkhaz authorities consist of the Supreme Council, which is the legislative body, and of the executive government. The latter unites four ministries – Finance, Economy, Education and Healthcare, as well as eight departments and eight local governance bodies.

The school in Azhara, the main village of upper Kodori Gorge, will most likely become the headquarters of the exiled Abkhaz authorities.
 
Sokhumi, Moscow Reaction

The decision to establish official representation in Kodori Gorge has been strongly condemned by Sokhumi, while the Russian Foreign Ministry said on July 28 that Georgia might use Kodori as “a foothold for a forceful solution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.”

“We reserve the right not to allow the establishment of a puppet government in the Kodori Gorge. I am not ruling out the use of any means, including diplomatic and military, to achieve this goal,” Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh said on July 28.

Sokhumi’s protest was expected, as the secessionist authorities in Abkhazia have for a long time been demanding that Tbilisi disband the, as they call it, “so called legitimate Abkhaz government,” or “puppet government.”

In a response, influential Georgian MP Givi Targamadze, who chairs the parliamentary committee for defense and security, condemned the Abkhaz statements as “hysteria” and threatened a “devastating strike” against any aggression towards Kodori.

President Saakashvili said on July 27 that Tbilisi’s recent moves in Abkhazia do not mean that the Georgian side has “aggressive intentions,” reiterating Tbilisi's commitment to solve the conflict through peaceful means.

Latest News
24 Oct.'17 11:42
Boris Johnson: Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic Vocation ‘One of UK’s Key Ambitions’
Georgian foreign and defense ministers attended the fourth annual Wardrop Strategic Dialogue session.
23 Oct.'17 18:01
International Observers: Fundamental Freedoms Generally Respected, E-Day Held in Orderly Manner
OSCE/ODIHR and the CoE Congress of Local and Regional Authorities issued joint assessment.
23 Oct.'17 16:28
President: Elections Held Largely Peacefully, but with ‘Many Shortcomings’
Giorgi Margvelashvili issued a brief statement following the October 21 municipal polls.
23 Oct.'17 15:20
U.S. Embassy on Georgia’s Municipal Elections
Polls were held ‘in a largely peaceful environment and respected fundamental freedoms,’ the embassy said.
23 Oct.'17 14:40
NDI’s Assessment: No Major Incidents during E-Day, Following ‘Uneven’ Competition
The National Democratic Institute issued its preliminary assessments of the October 21 municipal elections.
22 Oct.'17 17:08
Preliminary Results: Mayoral Races Set for Runoffs in Six Constituencies
The ruling party faces second rounds in Borjomi, Kazbegi, Khashuri, Kutaisi, Martvili, and Ozurgeti.
22 Oct.'17 15:35
Preliminary Results: GDDG’s Kakha Kaladze Wins Mayoral Race in Tbilisi
The ruling party candidate garnered 51.3% of the vote, winning the office without runoff elections.
22 Oct.'17 14:37
Preliminary Results: GDDG to Take Four-Fifth of Tbilisi Sakrebulo Seats
GDDG garnered 53.03% and won all single-mandate districts, securing 40 seats in the 50-member council.
22 Oct.'17 00:44
GDDG Leads in Imedi-Commissioned Exit Poll
Exit poll results show Kakha Kaladze winning outright victory in the mayoral race in Tbilisi.
22 Oct.'17 00:06
Opposition Candidates React to Exit Poll Results
Rustavi 2 TV exit poll put the ruling party candidate in decisive lead over his opponents in Tbilisi.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2017, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
90