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Tskhinvali Regime Has More 12 Georgian Hostages among Them Is 17-Year-Old Giorgi Archvadze

18.12.2009
Georgian human rights defenders, invited to Tskhinvali by the leader of Ossetian separatists Eduard Kokoity, met Georgian citizens detained and convicted in Tskhinvali as well as relatives of the missing Ossetian people and media representatives. What is general feeling in Tskhinvali? What is the position of the leader of separatist government about the release of Georgian hostages and what do the parents of missing Ossetian people request? We interviewed member of the Georgian delegation, conflict scientist Paata Zakareishvili about this details.

-What was the main purpose of your visit in Tskhinvali and who did you meet there?

-We asked our partner organizations to arrange our visit in Tskhinvali and went there to resolve the problem of detained Georgia adults. We met Eduard Kokoity, local media representatives and parents of missing Ossetian people. However, we had not planned meeting with Kokoity at all. It was too unexpected for us. We offered parents of the detained adults to follow us to Tskhinvali but for uncertain reasons they refused.
 
-What did you speak about with Kokoity and what does he think about the release of Georgian hostages?

-First of all, Kokoity told us that negative statements of President Saakashvili and State Minister Temur Iakobashvili irritates him. To tell the truth, I do not like their statements either. However, children shall not become victims of this situation. We did not speak categorically with Kokoity. He did not say that they would not release the children but he clarified that he is oppressed by the parents of missing Ossetian people who demand him not to release Georgian children. Kokoity said he had no problems with the children and could use every resource to release them. However, cooperation with Georgian side shall not be unilateral but coordinated. He does not want to satisfy our interests at the expense of his population and I think Georgian side should be more concerned about it.

-As you have already mentioned, you met the parents of missing Ossetian people…Why are they against the release of our adults?

-We had very tough conversation with them. The parents demand the release of their sons. We explained that those people have disappeared according to the official information but more attention shall be paid to this problem. Generally, it is difficult to estimate the truth. However, if they release Georgian hostages, it would be easier to negotiate with the government of Georgia and will demand our authority to reply to our questions more actively. By the way, Ossetian side is ready to exchange hostages with the principle “everybody in exchange of everybody”. However, Georgian side is against it. I think, we shall be more careful about this problem because it deals with human lives and not with politics.

-How do Georgian hostages – Viktor Buchukuri and Levan Khmiadashvili feel?

-Children looked clean and they told us the conditions are normal in the custody. They feel well too. We had openhearted conversation with the adults and they told us that Ossetian side has more 12 Georgian hostages and among them is 17-year-old Giorgi Archvadze. Unfortunately, we could not meet the rest 12 hostages but we will return to this problem. Now, the release of children from Tirdznisi village is urgently necessary. Besides that, we met representatives of local media who thinks it is necessary to set up a special commission under supervision of Kokoity which will work on the release of concrete people.

-Today, Human Rights Commissionaire of CoE Thomas Hammarberg visited Tbilisi who is going to Tskhinvali. He will continue negotiations about the release of Georgian people. What do you expect from these negotiations if we take the position of the parents of missing Ossetian people into consideration?

-Neither Hammarberg nor others will help us if we are not more careful about this issue. If Hammarberg will supervise the abovementioned commission, of course it will be better; however, we should also be careful in our actions. However, we do expect positive results, Hammarberg will go to Tskhinvali and maybe in 2-3 days they resolve the problem of the adults from Tirdznisi.

Source: News Agency “Pirveli”

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