Georgia: Tbilisi Trying New Way to Woo Abkhazia, South Ossetia

Newspaper Article
Susan H. Allen
Georgia: Tbilisi Trying New Way to Woo Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Written: By S-CAR
Author: Joshua Kucera
Publication: EurasiaNet
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Published Date: March 17, 2010
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The Georgian government has developed a new strategy for re-engaging with -- and ultimately re-incorporating -- the separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and is working to gain international support and funding for its plan.

The plan, officially named the "State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement through Cooperation," was developed by Georgia's Ministry of Reintegration and released at the end of January. Published in five languages -- Georgian, English, Russian, Abkhaz and Ossetian -- the plan takes a more conciliatory tone than has been customary for Tbilisi, and stresses the need for a "human-centric policy aimed at engagement with the residents of" Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Providing for a variety of social programs, the plan would make health care available to people in the separatist territories, and sketches out plans for rebuilding roads and establishing bus lines. It would also promote the Abkhaz (though not Ossetian) language, and encourage people-to-people contacts across the de facto borders. Focusing on these less controversial issues would help Tbilisi blunt criticism from authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the Russian government, Temuri Yakobashvili, Georgia's Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Reintegration, said in an interview with EurasiaNet.

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