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Foreign Minister Paet Visited Georgian IDPS and Border Area of South Ossetia Conflict Zone

09.09.2010

Foreign Minister Paet visited the Georgian IDP villages of Tserovani and Shavshvebi along with the deputy director of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia General Gilles Janvier. The foreign minister also visited Odzisi and Ergneti, which lie close to the control lines and were damaged during the conflicts, and met in Gori with the governor of Shida Kartli, Zurab Arsoshvili.

By the end of 2008, dwellings had been built in the Tserovani refugee village for 2 200 families. The Russia-Georgia conflict triggered a tremendous flow of internally displaced persons (IDPs), in addition to earlier waves of refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “Over one hundred thousand people have been forced to leave their homes,” stated Paet. “The situation of IDPs remains very complicated. We want to help to improve their living conditions and currently we have many development aid projects aimed towards IDPs in Georgia,” the foreign minister said.

Estonia is sharing experiences with young Georgian IDPs on, for example, becoming involved in a business. “This knowledge provides the IDPs with a chance to find work and thereby start returning to their everyday lives,” stated Foreign Minister Paet.

At his meeting in the city of Gori with Governor of Shida Kartli Zurab Arsoshvili, Paet discussed Estonia’s co-operation opportunities for improving the living conditions of the IDPs. Governor Arsoshvili said that in the Gori region there are still 100 IDP families without dwellings that are forced to live in schoolhouses.

Foreign Minister Paet also visited the refugee village of Shavshvebi, which is one of several settlements of people who were forced to relocate and where Estonia established a children’s playground and sports field within the framework of a development aid project. Paet said that children and youth living in IDP settlements lack places to enjoyably spend their free time. “A dwelling is essential, but that is not the only thing that is necessary for a quality life,” he added.

In the summer of this year the Foreign Ministry also supported a summer camp in Estonia for 14- to 16-year-old Georgian IDPs.

See photos from Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

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