Tánaiste in OSCE mission in Georgia

Friday 15 June 2012 15.56
The Georgian President met the Tánaiste in the Black Sea resort of Batumi
The Georgian President met the Tánaiste in the Black Sea resort of Batumi

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs is in Georgia in the South Caucasus in his capacity as head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Eamon Gilmore is trying to negotiate a break-through on two regions trying to become independent from Tbilisi.

The Georgian President met the Tánaiste in the Black Sea resort of Batumi for talks.

As OSCE head, Mr Gilmore wants a renewed engagement between Georgia and its regions seeking independence.

Abkhazia is one such region.

Forged from war in the 1990s, people living there tend to dismiss promises from Georgia that it will not re-start the conflict.

In the shops, the Russian rouble is legal tender. Moscow also gives Abkhazia military support.

The consequence is that Abkhazia is isolated diplomatically with only Moscow and a few others recognising the State.

Peace activist Dalila Pilia said that the EU could help by providing access to visas and education.

But it is unlikely in the short-term.

A quarter of a million Georgians fled the Abkhaz region during the war - their houses still lie abandoned.

In Georgia itself, 100,000 people displaced by the conflict continue to live in temporary accommodation.

Mr Gilmore is trying to negotiate for the OSCE to have a full-time presence in Georgia but Russia objects. This can stall the process as the OSCE operates by consensus.

In the short to medium term, the disputed Abkhaz border will remain as the tough talks continue.