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Irakli Alasania Recalls the Reasons of Dispute with Saakashvili and Okruashvili over Abkhazia Issues

05.07.2011

While talking with the correspondent of Kviris Palitra Izo Rikadze, the leader of Free Democrats Irakli Alasania recalls the reasons of dispute with the President Saakashvili and former Minister of Defense Irakli Okruashvili. According to him, the case concerned the Kodori valley. Humanrights.ge presents the fragment from this interview.

Do you think it was fair to sentence Okruashvili?

- Okruashvili is the type of person who puts his personal vengeance over the country’s interests. He is not the exception though. Saakashvili’s entire political team is like that. That is why I think that the dispute between Saakashvili and Okruashvili reflects the conflict in the National Movement and I cannot tell you more.

As I know you also had a dispute with Okruashvili.

- The theme of our dispute was Kodori Valley. But I would rather call it conflict with Saakashvili. Saakashvili and Okruashvili were the same at that time. When I was assigned to the post of the head of Abkhazia related departments, I was responsible for the defense capacity of our population. In order to sustain the defense capacity of the valley, I thought it was necessary to keep the military unit “Monadire” formed by the local people. These people needed support from Tbilisi but Saakashvili and Okruashvili decided to abolish this unit and leave them without jobs and weapons. I told Saakashvili that it was necessary to preserve the unit and transfer these people to the strict subordination of either the Border Police Departments or Defense Ministry. Abolishment of the unit will enable our enemy to easily attack the Kodori Valley. If we preserved “Monadire,” Kodori is so impregnable that it would have been possible to protect and preserve it. I will be honest that I discussed this issue with Saakashvili and was once again assured that our country does not have a leader in reality. Saakashvili could not answer me how to solve this issue. We started to have misunderstanding as a result that grew in the dispute. There was another factor: Saakashvili’s actions caused problems in negotiations with Abkhazians.

What problems did Saakashvili cause more specifically?

- During the negotiations with Abkhazians, the most concerning issues were discussed. The Abkhazian side stated that they are afraid of another conflict considering Saakashvili’s military rhetoric and they need firm guarantee that the war will not erupt. I told them that I did not want to renew the war either and I am concerned by the possible military provocation in Kodori. An idea to sign the agreement on conflict deterrence was raised. Besides, I raised the issues of protecting IDP rights and returning them back to their homes. We combined these two topics and created a declaration (which will definitely be needed to negotiate with Abkhazians) where we undertook the obligation to avoid violence. Abkhazian side acknowledged the right of IDPs to go back and the right of property. This was a big achievement. We even did the preliminary signing of the document. But this process was stopped. I had a conflict with Saakashvili on this. Two factors (abolishment of “Monadire” and freezing the negotiations with Abkhazians) gave me thought to leave government. But exactly at that time Mikheil Saakashvili notified me through the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gela Bezhuashvili that it would be good to continue working on IDP issues in the UN and I agreed.

There was another chance to renew negotiations with Abkhazians when I brought an improved version of the document to Sokhumi and then transferred it to Saakashvili in Tbilisi. He said that he was going to sign it but at the final moment he refused to that raised the chances of renewing the conflict.

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