President Mikheil Saakashvili's administration in Georgia is courting NATO and United Nations support for its plans to resolve the country's so-called frozen conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Over the past week, Georgia's primary diplomatic focus was on South Ossetia. On April 20, Georgian leaders "introduced" Dmitiri Sanakoyev, the Tbilisi-backed, alternative leader of South Ossetia, to Western diplomats and international organizations during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 65th Rose-Roth seminar in the Georgian capital. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
While not on the official list of conference participants, both Sanakoyev and de facto leader Eduard Kokoiti were invited to attend, according Zurab Bendiaishvili, an invited specialist for the parliament's temporary commission on territorial integrity issues. However, Bendiaishvili downplayed the importance of Sanakoyev's appearance at the forum, noting that since the Georgian government has created an administrative post for Sanakoyev, "informal presentations" like the conference are not crucial. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
Kokoiti's de facto government has condemned Tbilisi's efforts to promote Sanakoyev. In a joint statement released April 22 on the Tskhinvali leadership's website, de facto authorities in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia attacked the "puppet governments" that Tbilisi supports in both conflict zones. "The purpose of such moves is no secret to anyone," the statement reads. "Georgian authorities are trying to create an illusion of settlement, making use of the surrogate authorities on the territories it temporarily controls.
Molly Corso is a freelance reporter and photojournalist based in Tbilisi.