EUMM Field Office Tbilisi and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) organized on 25 June 2009, in Tbilisi, a round table on “Civil Society Engagement in the Resolution of the South Ossetian Conflict”. The event enjoyed the participation of EUMM representatives, Georgian governmental representatives (The Office of the State Minister for Reintegration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior) and Georgian non-governmental representatives active at national and local level. The round table was opened by Darius Jurgelevicius, Senior Political Adviser of the EU Monitoring Mission.
The round table focused on civil society’s possible contribution to creating a conducive environment for the resolution of the conflict in South Ossetia. Participants discussed the main challenges that emerged in the aftermath of the August war in relation to South Ossetia, the projects at civil society level that are under implementation in the area and the prerequisites for civil society’s involvement (in the areas of humanitarian assistance and human rights, confidence building, information exchange, monitoring and analysis).
All participants agreed that the August war undermined the activities of civil society organizations working on issues concerning Georgian-Ossetian relations. As a result, the new political context provides unfavourable conditions for effective continuation of past efforts. However, it is fundamental that civil society’s involvement in the establishment of a dialogue between Georgians and Ossetians is promoted and supported. It was noted that under current circumstances the mission of Georgian civil society is twofold: to start a dialogue with Ossetian counterparts and work with the government on the elaboration of policy approaches for a peace process. Recommendations were made to international actors, including EUMM, on supporting possible projects that could contribute to the resolution of the South Ossetian conflict, as well as on creating a regular framework for dialogue with Georgian governmental and non-governmental representatives.