Georgian-Ossetian civil dialogue is being on in Istanbul with the participation of conflictologists, journalists, representatives of non-governmental and international organizations. The public dialogue series Point of View have been organized by George MasonUniversity since 2008. The peculiarity of the dialogue is that all attendees are participating in the meeting as private persons and did not represent interests of different organizations. Eight people per party – Georgian and Ossetian – take part in the dialogue.
At the very beginning of the event the meeting participants exchanged information on current political situation in de facto South Ossetia as well as Georgia. The review of so called presidential elections held in de facto republic revived keen interest. Ossetian counterparts pointed out that along with the formation of the new authorities the situation is changing into better in terms of the development of civil sector in Tskhinvali. According to Lira Kozaeva of the Women’s Peace Movement within the civil dialogue format the plank is going up, the meeting participants, notwithstanding dissension, show respect to one another, which is indicative of a right direction of the format.
International organizations’ interest to the civil dialogue is increasing from meeting to meeting. This round of civil dialogue is being observed by 14 foreign guests. Under the circumstances of deficit of political dialogue, says conflictologist Paata Zakareishvili, it’s natural that interest to public diplomacy is increasing but without political dialogue no progress is achievable therefore foreign donors are trying to maintain dialogue at least at this level.
Professor Susan Allen Nan of George Mason University pointed out that these meetings give attendees a possibility to understand one another and receive information on the current situation on both sides to help improve peoples lives, tackle the problems and simply strengthen confidence.
The Georgian-Ossetian civil dialogue is due end late this week. The meeting participants will discuss the problems of humanitarian character, the ideas for joint projects. The Istanbul meeting was made possible with the financial backing of USAID and the Institute ofPeace.