Press release - 866(2008)

 

Congress mobilises European communities for help to their counterparts affected by the conflict in South Caucasus

Strasbourg, 02.12.2008 – The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe today launched an appeal to European territorial communities to help their counterparts in the conflict zone in South Caucasus.

In a resolution adopted after the debate on local consequences of the conflict, the Congress called on local and regional authorities of the rest of Europe to provide immediate and long-term assistance to territorial communities directly or indirectly affected by the conflict.

“Whatever the origin of the conflict, it was a tragedy for local communities which bore the brunt of it in term of human lives and destroyed infrastructures,” Congress President Yavuz Mildon stressed at the opening of the debate. “The task before us is to establish in what way, and to what extent the Congress, and territorial communities of other European countries, can help their counterparts in the affected areas to restore infrastructures and public services, ensure the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons, respond to the needs of the victims and their families – in a word, to contribute to the full restoration of local self-government and management of consequences of this tragedy,” he said.

The resolution stresses that in the short term, the assistance should help to alleviate the suffering and the difficulties encountered by the wounded and those who had to leave their homes, to re-establish normal schooling for children, and to organise and facilitate the reconstruction and repair of affected infrastructures and the restoration of public services. In the medium and longer term, the assistance should help to consolidate local and regional democracy in the conflict area, to foster dialogue and reconciliation, and to facilitate the return of displaced persons.

The Congress also committed itself, in cooperation with the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) and the Georgian national delegation, to supporting the action of the Kutaisi Local Democracy Agency (LDA) in Georgia, and to contributing its expertise and support to the exchange of skills for the benefit of affected areas.

The debate included statements by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Larissa Khabitsova, President of the Parliament of North Ossetia (Russia), Gigi Ugulava, Mayor of Tbilisi, as well as Mamuka Abuladze and Svetlana Orlova, respective Heads of Geogrian and Russian delegations to the Congress.

 

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