The Georgian authorities will take measures aimed at “consolidating” and heightening international focus on Russia’s “attempt to annex” Abkhazia thought its proposed new treaty on alliance and integration with Sokhumi, senior officials said after a meeting of the Georgian State Security and Crisis Management Council on Saturday.
Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said after the meeting that “very aggressive – meaning active” foreign policy steps will be undertaken.
Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, said it implies being more “pro-active”. Panjikidze said that she will make this issue a central point when she meets EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on October 20 on the sideline of the EU’s foreign affairs council, as well as during her talks in Berlin after trip to Luxembourg.
The meeting of the Georgian State Security and Crisis Management Council, which was chaired by PM Irakli Garibashvili, was also attended by senior lawmakers from the Georgian Dream ruling majority and was then also joined by Georgia’s ambassadors to the United States, the EU and the Council of Europe.
The council was also briefed by PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, about his meeting with Russia’s deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin in Prague on October 19. Although no date for their next meeting has yet been set, Tbilisi has not yet either decided to suspend this format of informal direct dialogue with Moscow, which was launched in December, 2012 and which has mostly been focused on trade and economic issues, leading to reopening of Russian market for Georgian products last year. The recent meeting between the two diplomats, however, was apparently dominated by Russia’s intention to sign new treaty with Abkhazia, which Tbilisi has condemned as a step towards “annexation of occupied territory.”
There have been concerns about the Kremlin-proposed treaty in Sokhumi as well. A working group of Abkhaz officials has been set up to develop its version of treaty.
GD MP Irakli Sesiashvili, chairman of defense and security committee in the parliament, who was present at the meeting of the security and crisis management council, said in this situation Tbilisi and Sokhumi are now actually on “the same side.”
Two days before the council session, PM Garibashvili said he has an “idea in respect of Abkhazians”, which he declined to specify, but said that he was going to discuss it with the State Security and Crisis Management Council.
After the meeting on October 18, secretary of the security and crisis management council, Mindia Janelidze, said that discussions are underway over the proposals and the Prime Minister himself will make a statement about it “in the nearest future.”