Ketevan Tsikhelashvili has served as Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, responsible for coordinating the country’s conflict resolution policy, since 2016. Tsikhelashvili sat down with OC Media to discuss the ministry’s successes and failures, her new peace initiative, and the barriers to and prospects for peace.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has accepted an invitation to visit Tskhinvali (Tskhinval), South Ossetian president Anatoly Bibilov announced in a Monday press conference. The Georgian government condemned the announcement, calling it a ‘gross violation of international norms’.
M M, 47 years old, the village of Dvani, Kareli municipality
‘The cost of conflict is enormous. Everyone paid that cost. I personally paid with my damaged psychology. The most precious part of what I had — the best period of my life — my young age was claimed by this conflict. This is going to haunt me all my life.’
South Ossetian journalist Tamar Mearakishvili has accused Georgian deputy minister of reconciliation Lasha Darsalia of threatening and blackmailing her. Mearakishvili, who the authorities in South Ossetia are prosecuting for ‘slander and forgery’, has been critical of the Georgian government for failing to do more to help her. Darsalia has denied the allegations, telling OC Media there must be a ‘misunderstanding’.
Enterprising young people in South Ossetia have lots of ideas for improving their homeland but the challenges are many. Few opportunities to develop a career at home, even fewer opportunities to travel abroad, a lack of cultural and recreational facilities, and a dearth of funding for youth initiatives mean the obstacles can seem insurmountable. Nevertheless, many are willing to try.