In a recent online conversation with Vakhtang Kolbaia, former chairman of the government and member of the Supreme Council of Georgia’s Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (in exile), Sergey Shamba, Secretary of the Security Council in the currently Russian-controlled region, expressed his belief that the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict should not be left for future generations to inherit.
Instead, he emphasized the need to find opportunities for peaceful coexistence and urged the activation of various communication channels.
Shamba acknowledged that his position might not be popular within the Abkhaz community but stressed the importance of dialogue in resolving conflicts. "If there is a problem, you should talk first," he stated, citing examples from Europe where neighboring and related peoples have historically been at odds but eventually found paths to peace.
Despite the passage of 30 years since the war, Shamba noted that lingering resentment persists on both the Abkhaz and Georgian sides. Advocating for public diplomacy, he reminisced about his tenure as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, where de facto representatives engaged in meetings with Georgian officials to understand each other's positions.Kolbaya echoed Shamba's sentiments, emphasizing that such discussions were prevalent at the beginning of incumbent de facto Aslan Bzhania's presidency. Kolbaya mentioned the potential for economic mutual cooperation and urged a proactive approach to explore possibilities for reconciliation.
While the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refrained from commenting on the Abkhaz side's willingness to restore the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) format, occupied Abkhazia declared in October its readiness to resume work within the IPRM framework. The mechanism, established after the 2008 war, aims to address incidents and foster dialogue with the engagement of the central Georgian Government, de facto authorities, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. However, meetings in Gali, a key component of the IPRM, have not taken place since 2018.