Rachel Clogg, Marina Elbakidze and Arda Inal-Ipa discuss efforts to build new relationships across the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict divide. In a context where the possibility of a peace deal seems remote and the very concept of reconcilation itself is highly politicised, the authors nonetheless argue that efforts to engage both societies in deeper processes to address the root causes of the conflict are an essential component of conflict transformation, and could provide the basis for a successful negotiation process in future.
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Reconciliation as creating new relationships
Reconciliation before resolution?
Box 1 - What's in a name? The Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality
The renaming of the Georgian Ministry for Reintegration as the Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality in 2014 reflects a familiar dynamic in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. In 2004, Georgia set up the State Ministry for Conflict Resolution Issues to be responsible for addressing its conflicts regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It was renamed in early 2008 as the State Ministry for Reintegration, making explicit Georgia's political agenda vis-à-vis the conflict regions: to reintegrate them back into Georgia.
Systemic change and the 'national project'
Box 2 - Gal/i region
The art of the possible: dealing with the past
If a vase was made badly and broke because it was not sufficiently robust, and we then try to stick it back together as it was – this is reconciliation. But if we try to understand why it broke and then rebuild it in a sturdy and lasting way – this is dealing with the past, and transformation.