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Georgia is too late with offering special status to South Ossetia: opinion

Alan Dzhussoev

Georgia’s decision to amend its constitution is a sovereign right of that country and bears no relation to the Republic of South Ossetia (RSO). Nor the decision to issue neutral passports, form exile governments and others do, Alan Dzhussoev, the Head of the South Ossetia President’s Administration Department, told EADaily. “Issues of interstate relations – RSO and Georgia have no other issues – are not settled through political technologies,” Dzhussoev said.

Earlier, Georgian lawmakers working on constitutional amendments urged a special status for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In all the previous Constitutions, RSO and Abkhazia that were recognized as sovereign states by Russia in 2008 were mentioned as autonomies of Georgia.

Dzhussoev thinks that it was necessary to think of Georgia’s territorial integrity in 1990-1991 when the USSR collapsed. “Then, when Georgia became a young independent country, it was necessary to offer special statuses, write and adopt a constitution reckoning with the views of Ossetians and Abkhazians residing in the territory of the Georgian SSR. Since the beginning of the 20th century through 2008, Georgia had tried to settle the issue of South Ossetia and Ossetians residing in the territory of Georgia and South Ossetia through either assimilating or annihilating them. The territory of South Ossetia had been significantly reduced then, as tens of thousands of people, Ossetians by origin, were assimilated, and no one asked Ossetians if they wanted to be assimilated,” Dzhussoev said.

“In South Ossetia, we have moved beyond it and together with the Russian Federation we have settled the issue of military threat from Georgia. We are free to choose our political and economic development vector basing on our independence and statehood,” he said. Addressing MP Zakharia Kutsinashvili’s initiative, Dzhussoev said Russia, as the legal successor of the Soviet Union could “add in its Constitution a special status for any of its provinces with the same success. And what will that give it?”

“Such initiatives will become needless as soon as Georgia started building normal inter-state relations with the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia. All our people will gain from that. Unfortunately, the Georgian leadership does understand this so far,” Dzhussoev said.

The Georgian lawmakers that were elected in the autumn of 2016 are not the only ones to offer new approaches to conflict management. The new authorities of Moldova, specifically, President Igor Dodon speaks of special status for Transnistria as part of Moldova, he intends to achieve that through policy of “small steps.” That issue was discussed at the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin too.

Alan Dzhussoev does not link those events. “No one gave independence to South Ossetia and Abkhazia or Transnistria as a birthday present. That independence is a result of sufferings and human lives. Our people have become self-determined and are building their statehood stemming from their choice. As for the landmark - first in the last nine years - visit of the Moldovan president to Moscow, of course, they will be discussing the conflict with the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic as a priority issue. For Russia, the settlement of that conflict is important, including from the viewpoint of the situation in Ukraine. Russia should and will be building its relations with Moldova and Ukraine having its state and national interests at heart. It does this in its relations with Georgia too,” Dzhussoev said adding that no one will be protecting the interests of Transnistria. In his words, all the statements must be based on the people’s self-determination, choice. “Everyone must reckon with it. It is a reality today, but in case of real consultations and talks, everyone will be distancing themselves from it,” he said.

“Russia is consistent in its foreign policy. None of Russia’s actions in the post-Soviet area or in the world runs contrary to the international law. Globally, the three republics can have just one way to develop: to follow the will of their peoples in the future too. As for the rest – economy, form of government and governance, every country acts within its priorities and realities,” he said for conclusion.

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