Five years have passed since the Georgian-Abkhazian war broke out on 14 August 1992. Although the cease-fire has been declared, there is no peace. The number of the conflict victims is increasing; the future of thousands of people, who cannot live, work and bring up their children peacefully, is obscure; the peacekeeping process has reached a deadlock. It is not difficult to divine the perspective: either such relatively “cold war” will continue infinitely, or new bloodsheds will take place in the country.

Russia, as it was expected, has not justified the hopes. It is also futile to set hopes only on the UNO, OSCE, some “friendly nations” or other external support. The experience of the last years dictates us the following: the Georgian-Abkhazian problem should be solved by the Georgians and the Abkhaz only. The assistance of any other benevolent country might be of minor importance

The situation is extremely exaggerated. The war in Abkhazia resulted in heavy casualties. The opposing parties adhere to the polar positions – either territorial integrity or independence. This problem should not be resolved by resorting to force. Neither of the opposing parties will be able to gain a decisive victory by means of the existing military forces. The recommencement of the war will not only cause lots of deaths and destructions, but it will also redouble distrust between the two nations, increase the number of the people obsessed with hatred and strengthen the image of enemy. All this, finally, will make it difficult to reach a consensus.

So, what is the way out of the existing situation if the Abkhaz object against the autonomy and the Georgians cannot abandon the territorial integrity of the country, in other words, how can the Abkhazian statehood be combined with the integral State system?

If it had not been for the fierce warfare of 1992 -93, one might say that the determination of Abkhazia’s status within the state integrity of Georgia would have been quite possible. But today’s situation requires new forms of Georgian-Abkhazian coexistence. Consequently, in our opinion, it is quite acceptable to establish treaty relations with Abkhazia if it provides peace in the region, reconciliation of the Abkhaz and the Georgians, legal and real safety of the Abkhaz, the Georgians and all the peoples living in Abkhazia, national and personal immunity of all the citizens of Abkhazia, political and economic basis for all-round development of Abkhazia, i.e. summing up all the above-mentioned – normal conditions of life.

Regarding the problem of return home of the refugees and internally displaced people, it should be resolved under the context of a political status. Unconditional return home of the refugees in the first place and determination of their status later is an unreal principle. It is almost unrealizable to organize a mass homecoming of the displaced people under the conditions of cold war, and even if it were possible, where should be these people sent to? Can they be sent to the area of possible military actions? The failure of determination of a political status is always fraught with the danger of resumption of the war.

We, therefore, believe the time has come to start direct Georgian-Abkhazian peace talks about the formation of a common political, economical and informational space in consideration of the existing situation. Moreover, it is our belief that the Georgian party should demand of the CIS to raise the economic blockade of Abkhazia. The world experience shows that similar measures are less effective, not to mention a moral aspect of the question (as it is well known, the whole burden of a blockade, as a rule, falls on the socially unprotected part of the population). Any blockade entails radicalism of political convictions only that hampers the development of peace processes.
In conclusion, the Abkhazian tragedy should necessarily be evaluated from the ethical standpoint. Failing this neither catharsis nor progress may be succeeded and, consequently, we will be deprived of spiritual forces to build our future life.

 

In our opinion, the above-mentioned version of solving the problem will undoubtedly favour the peaceful resolution of the Abkhazian conflict and this will be the most important step forward to the integrity of the Caucasus.

 

“The Centre for Cultural Relations – Caucasian House”
12 August 1997