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Political Leaders Assess “Sorry Campaign”
 Eka Gulua

Political leaders made comments on the “Sorry Campaign” initiated by the Human Rights Center. Some of them cannot see any problems in apology while others think that the center started the campaign to gain some grants. There are people who think that the campaign will have bad influence on peace-keeping talks.

Here are the comments of representatives of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties regarding the campaign.

Mikheil Machavariani, leader of the “National Movement”, Deputy Chairman of the Georgian Parliament: “When we appear before the historic court, we should be guiltless to our conscious and to our country. I think that any grant, despite its value, does not cost as much as our history. Although the situation was complicated in 1992 in Georgia, it was a provocation initiated by Special Forces. Representatives of the North Caucasus took part in it too. Consequently, similar activities betray state interests, disfigure the history and are launched by crazy people…I prefer to negotiate face-to-face with Abkhaz people rather than to apology to them.

Soso Shatberashvili, leader of “Labor Party”: “Georigan people have nothing to apology for. It is only Edward Shevardnadze who has to apology to Georgian population for unleashing two civil wars in our country- in Tbilisi and in Abkhazia. Both of them were provoked by Russian Empire; but former Georgian president satisfied their wishes. Thus, Georgian people do not have to be sorry about anything as well as Abkhaz population. These two nations got into the Russian trap and that shameful war finished with bad results. Nobody should claim that either Georgian or Abkhaz people won the war; both of them were defeated. The position of our party is that Tengiz Kitovani, Shevardnadze and every person who unleashed the war should be prosecuted. In addition to that we demand the punishment of Saakashvili who promised the demonstrators during the Rose Revolution to overthrow Ardzinba’s Regime in Abkhazia. In fact, now Abkhazia might be declared De-jure republic.”

Kote Gabashvili, a leader of the national Movement, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee: “There are people who try to take advantage of every problem in order to make their activities more active. “I would have signed” the Sorry Appeal as a Georgian person for they have killed Vova Vekua; I would have apologized to them because they have cut of the heads of Georgian people and then played football with their heads on Gagra Stadium; because they pierced families together with their little children. I advise everybody to remember those pictures when apologizing to Abkhaz people. It would be better if both sides apologized to each other. We have equal faults and our society should not be masochist. This campaign is unreal and I cannot appreciate it.”

Elizbar Javelidze, representative of the political movement “Ena Mamuli Sartsmunoeba” (Mother language, Motherland, Faith): “Both sides have to apologize. Shevardnadze launched the war. It was a provocation. The results were obvious from the very beginning. Nobody can persuade me that Kitovani wanted to go to Abkhazia for a walk and Shevardnadze accompanied him. The latter could foresee the results. We should apologize to Abkhaz people for having started the war; but whereas their playing football with the heads of Georgian people and their present aggressive attitude to us, Abkhaz people must apologize to us. Actually, politician’s apologize does not mean anything. I support public diplomacy. People should reconcile.”

Jondi Bagaturia, “Kartuli Dasi” (Georgian Team): “I am furious when any organization takes responsibility to make statements in the name of Georgian people. Moreover, nobody must excuse to others. As for the fact whether we have to apologize to them, I think we have to return our break-away region and restore our territorial integrity. In this situation it has no sense to find out who provoked the conflict. It is obvious that situation was terrible and devastating. There was one group who provoked the hostility in the name of Abkhaz people. It resulted into the controversy in Sokhumi. It is not time to find out who should apologize.”

Gia Gachechiladze, “Georgian Greens”: “The point is that it is very naïve attempt to make some corrections in negotiation process. If any representative of the government agrees with the campaign it will have negative influence on the process. Georgia will lose not only in Abkhazian-Georgian relationship but on international level too. Everybody knows that the conflict was provoked by Russian Special Forces. Their aim was to change demographic situation in the region that is to empty the Abkhazian territory from Georgian and Abkhaz people. The military operations were too successful against Georgians. But Abkhaz people are deceived and cannot even understand that there is no place for them in Abkhazia. Consequently, it is only Russian Side who has to apologize for the situation.”

Bachuki Kardava, “National Democratic Party”: “I would not apologize to anybody, because only Russian and Abkhazian sides have to be sorry about the situation. They have broken Georgian territorial integrity and forced out more than 100 000 Georgian people from there. It is a serious crime committed against Georgian nation. I really do not know what the aim of this campaign is -to gain grants or to follow somebody’s orders; anyway we have neither moral nor historical basis to apologize. We cannot ignore those boys who were killed in Abkhazian war.”

Tina Khidasheli, leader of the “Republic Party”: “I have already expressed my personal position regarding the campaign. However I cannot speak about the position of our party because I have heard about it from you for the first time. As for my personal opinion, I think that not Georgian population but Georgian State should apologize. The state must apologize to those IDPs who were forced out from Abkhazia and to the victims of the war. If you consider yourself a state you should prevent the war on your territory. I cannot observe any problems regarding the campaign. Although I do not know the initiators, I appreciate the idea.”

17 Jul. '07