Is it necessary to raise the issue of de-occupation of Georgia amid ongoing Russia-Ukraine war?
De-occupation of Georgia amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Shalva Papuashvili said that Georgia should not raise the issue of de-occupation of its territories at this stage, because an attempt to solve issues related to Georgia during the ongoing war in Ukraine would show the country’s ‘unscrupulous attitude’.
According to Papuashvili, there are no real grounds to believe that the processes taking place in Ukraine open up new opportunities for the de-occupation of the occupied territories of Georgia.
Papuashvili also accused the opposition of seeking a military solution to the conflict.
“As for the issue of the occupied territories of Georgia, it was said that this [the war in Ukraine] opens a certain window of opportunity, which is a very dangerous topic, they said that a military solution to this issue is possible. I want to emphasize once again that the policy of the Georgian state is absolutely based on peace, any talk about resolving the issue of occupation by military means is absolutely unacceptable here. We are talking about our Abkhaz and Ossetian sisters and brothers, with whom we have been trying to restore trust for years”, the speaker of the parliament said.
Papuashvili’s statements on the Palitranius TV channel were sharply criticized by his political opponents and experts.
“The de-occupation of the country is a topic that should be at the top of domestic and foreign policy priorities – not just today, but every day, until this de-occupation takes place”, said Tengiz Pkhaladze, a former presidential adviser on foreign policy issues.
According to him, today the Ukrainian issue has awakened the world and it is time for Russia to answer for absolutely everything that it has done, including in Georgia.
“Russian aggression, occupation, whether it be Ukraine, Moldova or Georgia, is a topic for discussion in the United States, NATO, and the European Union. How can this not be an opportunity for Georgia to actually switch issues to a more practical solution in the international arena?”, asks political scientist Vano Machavariani.
However, both experts and politicians note that the government is lying, accusing the opposition of wanting war.
“Mr. Shalva is engaged in demagogy. None of the opposition has ever talked about the return of territories by military means. We are working with our partners to find peaceful ways, unlike the Georgian Dream. As for the new geopolitical situation in the world and the window of new opportunities for Georgia in relation to NATO and the European Union, we all agree with this”, said Sergo Chikhladze, a member of the Strategy Agmashenebeli party.
This is not the first time that the authorities are trying to accuse the opposition of trying to wage a war. Opposition calls for the authorities to take a more radical stance on Russia, join Western sanctions in support of Ukraine, and intensify discussion of Georgia’s occupation on the international stage, which, according to the current government, would push the country into an open conflict with Russia.
A few days ago, the chairman of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze, called the Georgian opposition a “party of war”. However, not a single politician has made a single concrete statement in which the opposition demanded a military solution to the problems of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.