We, the people of South Ossetia are not separatists: Inal Pliev

Inal Pliev, Information Department director with South Ossetia’s part of the United Control Commission For Conflict’s Regulation in interview to FOCUS News Agency. Inal Pliev is also a deputy chairman of the South Ossetia’s Community for Friendship with Bulgaria

FOCUS: Do you accept EU’s mediation for peace in the South Caucasus?

Inal Pliev: We have no grounds to believe that the EU has been interested in South Caucasus and South Ossetia. Many form the EU member states have taken active part in Georgia’s military equipment during the last ten years. The governments of those countries were aware of the fact that Georgia will use their arms, including the weapons of mass destruction, not for defense – as we saw the weapons did not defend Georgia – but for destroying the peaceful population of South Ossetia, as it happened.

The infinite declarations of the EU representatives made us realize that the life of South Ossetia’s people doesn’t mean anything to them. They did not judged the assassinations of thousands of ordinary Ossetian people but they condemned the actions that Russia started to save thousands of South Ossetia’s residents – those who were not killed in the first hours of Georgia’s aggression. The EU did not condemn Georgia for the assassinations of the peacekeepers that were based in the zone of legitimate international mandate; it did not condemn the actions of the Georgia’s peacekeepers – they were shooting in fire pointblank the peaceful Ossetia’s population, or the people who were their comrades the day before, in fact.

So, the EU is a power that does not defend justice, it takes the party of those who used to kill peaceful people. I personally reject any kind of EU participation in the negotiations.

FOCUS: What is the international organization that you would admit to take part in the negotiations with Georgia. Which one will you prefer among the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU and the United Nations?

Inal Pliev: We have already talked about the EU. The OSCE was incapable of preventing the conflict, as well. The OSCE has taken part in the regularizing process on Georgia’s conflict in 1993. There were many respectful people who worked for the OSCE mission in Georgia at the time, such as the Bulgarian ambassadors Gancho Ganchev, Bozhidar Dimitrov, Veselin Nikolov and others. However, a particular individual is not able to change anything. The OSCE mission was monitoring the situation of the conflict along with the military observer from Russia, Ossetia and Georgia’s peace forces. Reports were drawn up on the grounds of the monitoring – the separate violations of every country were put down in the reports. The signatures of the observers, peacekeepers and the OSCE’s representatives were put there.

Despite all the measures, the information about Georgia’s violations either disappeared or was presented in a way that it was impossible to define Georgia’s actions, which were in fact kind of violation. So, Georgia made these violations again. OSCE has not put any firm answer or reaction, when Georgia pushed in the artillery and military equipments in the zone of the conflict. The leadership of OSCE and the member states received the information about the real situation in the zone from Georgia. Georgia had been preparing long before August 8.

There was pressure put on it for the tragedy’s prevention. And the other question comes here: Had the OSCE mission participants absolutely underestimated the violations in Georgia or not?

That is why I personally do not trust anyone – neither OSCE, nor the mission in Georgia. I think that if the OSCE operation in Georgia continues, a separate OSCE Mission for South Ossetia has to be set up too.

The UN has been working in Abkhazia and it has been behaving much more tolerable compared to OSCE, which works in South Ossetia. OSCE has never condemned Georgia’s actions but it has never sincerely confessed that Georgia has made many violations. The UN, operating in Abkhazia has been passing resolutions for appealing Georgia to stop the abuses and it usually stressed on many of Georgia’s actions that were kind of violence. I think that we should not negotiate with Georgia. The negotiations are for opponents that trust each other. The normal people do not trust Georgia, as it turned out to be a country that usually violate any agreement or contract for its needs.

FOCUS: How does South Ossetia view the outcome of the conflict? What are its concrete criteria and where will you table them to discussion? At what conditions will you negotiate with Georgia?

Inal Pliev: I stand behind the position of Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev – I think that only the people of South Ossetia can define the country’s future. And I also think that we should not take into consideration the opinion of all those countries that were supplying weapons to Georgia during the discussions on South Ossetia’s status. The same those countries declared the Kosovo’s independence without any regards to Serbia’s position.

FOCUS: What are the losses from the war for South Ossetia? Did someone benefit anything from it?

Inal Pliev: There are about 2000 victims - Tskhinvali’s residents. Most of them died in their houses during the first moments of the attack, without having time to find a protection. Then, after Georgia’s tanks invaded Tskhinvali, Georgia’s infantrymen invaded the refuges and shot many people death. The exact number of the victims of Georgia’s occupation is not known but they are thousands for sure. Georgia’s armed forces killed all of the villages’ residents who did not succeed to find an asylum in the forests. I want to stress on the situation from the village of Tsunar that was occupied by the Georgian army. All the elderly people living in the village were released, while all the people in reproductive age, including children and young girls and boys, women and men were killed. August 8, Mikhail Saakashvili declared that his people would make a corridor from where the ordinary people would be able to go out the fire zone.

During all this time, while the information agencies ant TV channels were releasing this information, Georgia continued the fire attack at the same intensity as before and actually going out from buildings was impossible. Many people tried to escape by running or driving their cars but Saakashvili’s army killed them. There were people and children burning down in their cars – that was happening as in Tskhinvali, so in other settlements from the direction they was trying to escape and save themselves. There are videos and photos that prove the situation.

Georgia’s actions were targeting total massacre of Tskhinvali’s residents – no one would have stayed alive, if Russia did not impeded the action plan. It is very impressive that the general staff of Georgia’s Ministry of Defense gave the name ‘Clean field’ to the operation. There are enormous material losses; they are so big that it is still impossible to be calculated. However, I do not want to pay attention to them in a moment when thousands of people are killed in the cruelest way. Everything from South Ossetia that could be ruined was razed to the ground – the university, research center, editor’s offices of newspapers, printing offices, the building of the television, 42 nurseries, 13 schools, hundreds of homes, enterprises, humanitarian and civil sites. There were sites under International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s protection, including hospitals, health centers, emergency stations. There were shootings against hospitals where there were hundreds of sick people; they used a fusillade fire system. The orthodox churches were under fire, as well. No one will win from the war – neither South Ossetia, nor Georgia.

FOCUS: The institutions and the states do not approve the separatism. Is South Ossetia likely to change something from its demands or just to change its approach to the negotiations with Georgia?

Inal Pliev: South Ossetia is not a separatist territory. South Ossetia’s claim for independence is in complete conformity to the international juridical norms. We apply perfect documents to South Ossetia‘s strive for independence. If our opponents had juridical arguments, they would not have used violence.

Mikhail Saakashvili’s action from August 8 expressed the real status of South Ossetia – no one would undertake such actions against his nation. I think, I do not have to remind the international law definition for a mass assassination of thousands of ordinary people who belong to certain nationality.

Georgia has just shown what would it do with South Ossetia’s population if it takes the control on South Ossetia. That’s why I want to declare that all the appeals for Georgia’s territorial integrity are equivalent to calls for mass assassination of thousands of South Ossetia’s people. All the honest and fair people around world should to support South Ossetia in its ambition for separation from Georgia and its right to part of a country where its population want to live.

As a deputy chairman of South Ossetia’s Community for Friendship with Bulgaria I would like to witness the fair paces of Bulgaria’s authorities towards a nation that has been traditionally bearing good feelings to Bulgarians, since the time of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878.

[Source: By Denka Katsarska, FOCUS Information Agency, 20Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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