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German Support For Georgia/Abkhazia Peace Plan

Georgia: Peace plan for Abkhazia

The German Government is backing efforts to resolve the conflict over the Black Sea region of Abkhazia in Georgia. A new three-phase plan is intended to defuse the current situation and pave the way for a peaceful settlement. It involves step-by-step confidence building and joint projects to promote reconstruction.

As coordinator of the UN Secretary-General's so-called Group of Friends of Georgia, which includes also Britain, France, Russia and the United States, Germany is working hard to establish a structured peace process between the parties to the conflict over Abkhazia (Georgia).

Following the latest violent incidents Foreign Minister Steinmeier called on the parties to do everything possible to prevent any further escalation, emphasizing the urgent need for a comprehensive and peaceful settlement of the various conflicts in the country. Under Group of Friends auspices the German Government has developed a three-phase plan to resolve the conflict in Abkhazia. The aim is to achieve a step-by-step deescalation of the conflict, which has been simmering since the early nineties.

During the first phase both sides would issue declarations designed to build confidence: Georgia would publicly renounce the use of force and Abkhazia would undertake to allow Georgian refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes.

During the second phase joint projects would be initiated to promote the region's reconstruction.

The difficult negotiations over the region's final status would be left to the third and last phase.

The conflict between Georgia and the Abkhazia region has been smouldering ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in the early nineties. In 1992 Abkhazia declared its independence, but this has never been recognized by the international community. In economic terms the region is heavily dependent on Russia, which has a 3000-strong peacekeeping force stationed there. As a result of the conflict, Abkhazia's Georgian population fled their homes or were displaced. For years now Georgia has had to cope with the burden of looking after some 260,000 internally displaced persons.

German support for a conflict settlement

In its capacity as coordinator of the UN Secretary-General's Group of Friends of Georgia, Germany feels a special responsibility to help resolve the conflict over Abkhazia in particular. The members of the Group of Friends met most recently in late June in Berlin, where they indicated agreement in principle with the multi-phase plan proposed by Minister Steinmeier.

Germany's armed forces have a contingent of military observers and paramedics serving in the crisis zone with the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia UNOMIG. In addition, the four German police officers serving with UNOMIG's police mission are doing valuable work helping to advise, support and train the Georgian police force.

Germany sees Georgia as an important partner in the region. For nearly two centuries Germans and Georgians have had close and friendly ties. Germany was the first country to recognize Georgia following its declaration of independence in 1991 and opened an embassy there in 1992. Our country is regarded in Georgia with sympathy and respect. Both our extensive development cooperation activities and the wide-ranging cultural, academic and personal contacts between Germany and Georgia are greatly appreciated.

Source: Government of Germany

ENDS

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