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Six Questions to Presidential Candidates

28.12.2007
Every presidential candidate agrees that Georgia’s territorial integration is number one goal for them. Moreover, they make more statements on gaining the break-away territories back during pre-election campaign. Recent history of Georgia shows that Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region are the topics by which candidates mostly manipulate during pre-election campaign. However, the fact how they intend to return their territories or renew the dialogues with the population of the conflict zones is not clear for Georgian voters.

Georgian population has got used to the rhetoric of Georgian authority. However, the populations of conflict zones have not got used to it; particularly de-facto governments. Similar rhetoric scares them and breeds aggression in them.
There is a question how should we gain those territories back population of which views only enemy in us? Neither military trainings nor rhetoric resolve this problem.

In order to find out the action plan of all seven presidential candidates regarding the territorial integrity the Human Rights Center sent six questions to candidates and asked to give complete replies on them.

1. What will be your first activities to restore the territorial integrity?
2. What will you do if Russia declares Abkhaz and Tskhinvali regions independent?
3. What is your plan in case we face an unleashing of hostilities in the break-away territories, as a result of certain provocations?
4. What is your opinion about regaining the lost territories through military force?
5. Do you think that Georgian side has made mistakes in regard of Abkhazian and Ossetian parties and what are those mistakes?
6. What is your opinion about the “Sorry Campaign” launched by the Human Rights Center?

Ucha Nanuashvili, the executive director of the Human Rights Center, stated that the reason to ask those questions to candidates is current situation in Abkhazia.
“Every politician speaks about Abkhazia in general but none of them has discussed the real vision, program or methods how they are going to return lost territories. They just say that they will start thinking about the problem. The person who will be elected president should inform the voters how he is going to return the territories.”

“The “Human Rights Center” tried to receive similar information from political parties. The only answer was from the New Rights. As for others they have not sent even a single word about their plans to resolve the conflict. We have an impression that they have not set up exact vision on the issue.”
“Different ways of conflict resolution is discussed in Georgia. Many people think that the territories should be gained back through military force. The Human Rights Center categorically opposes similar method; just the opposite we want to assure people of that relationship with Abkhaz people should transfer into dialogue regime.”

The Human Rights Center appeals to the presidential candidates to express their opinions about “Sorry Campaign”.

The “Sorry Campaign” aims to restore the relationship between Georgian and Abkhazian people. The campaign enables both parties to realize their mistakes and express their opinions towards the conflict.
The campaign, alongside other activities, plans to publish the following text among Georgian and Abkhazian society.

Nona Suvariani
 

Today We Live Apart

Our past is a tragic war which resulted into the separation of two nations. Time passes, but the pain remains and wounds are still aching. Questions have not been answered. The future is still unclear.

The future will not change if we do not reflect on the tragedy that happened; if we do not seek ways to come together.

For us, for one part of the Georgian society, it is clear that the problems cannot be solved without admitting our mistakes. This appeal comes directly from our hearts.

Sorry for not preventing the war.

Sorry for not having avoided the disaster.

Sorry for every bullet that was shot; for every word that inspired the war.

We are fully aware that there were reasons for the war; both sides had provokers and encouragers who supplied them with weapons to kill each other.

Some are more to blame than others – but everybody is guilty of the war.

The war already meant defeat.

We want to hold out our hands to each other.

We believe that our cruel past will not divide us; just the opposite, it should bring our peoples together.

We should forgive each other for the war in order to avoid a second one.
Trust us, Abkhaz people, the Abkhaz language and culture is precious to us.
Our past, when we were together, is important to us.

We know that the idea of friendship between Abkhaz and Georgian peoples runs into many opponents and unfortunately those opponents are present on both sides. But we can find ways to each other’s hearts.

Sorry for not appealing to you before and for not saying these words publicly.

Sorry we did not avoid the tragedy.

Sorry, we did not or could not do more.

We pray for you;
We pray for the Abkhaz and Georgian peoples;
We pray for peace;
We pray for reconciliation.

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