TBILISI, 12 October 2001 (OSCE) - An 18-nation delegation from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) arrived today in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a 4-day visit. The delegation is accompanied by representatives of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, and the European Commission.
"This visit aims at getting first-hand information on the current situation in Georgia, and will allow for direct contacts with the Georgian authorities, civil society, as well as with the OSCE field personnel", said Ambassador Liviu Bota, Chairman of the OSCE Permanent Council, who leads the delegation. "It also comes at the very moment when the country is facing renewed tension", he added.
OSCE ambassadors and representatives will meet Georgian authorities at the highest level, including President Eduard Shevardnadze, the State Minister Georgi Arsenishvili, the Speaker of the Parliament, Zurab Zhvania, the Minister for Special Affairs, Malkhaz Kakabadze, the Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi Burduli, the Personal Representative of the President on National Security and Conflict Resolution, Irakli Machavariani, and representatives of the international community.
The OSCE delegation will travel to South Ossetia and meet with the leaders of the region, as well as with the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF). They will witness the destruction of arms, in which the OSCE Mission to Georgia is also involved.
A visit to the border area is planned that will allow the delegation members to hear from the 42 OSCE monitors dispatched in the Chechen sector of the Georgian-Russian border.
The delegation will be briefed by Ambassador Dieter Boden, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Georgia, on developments in Abkhazia.
OSCE started its activities in Georgia in December 1992. Its mandate includes to assist in negotiations between the sides involved, aimed at achieving a peaceful resolution of the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts by political means; encouraging respect for human rights; encouraging the creation of democratic institutions in the country; encouraging co-operation between the corresponding sides; monitoring the Joint Peacekeeping Forces established in Tskhinvali according to the Sochi Agreement of 24 June 1992; and monitoring the border between Georgia and the Chechen Republic, Russian Federation.