The prominence of the meta-conflict is an outcome related to the weakness and contested nature of core fundamental claims to sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination made by the conflict parties. In the Georgian case the focus on ethnic settlement is partly motivated by the fact that due to extended periods of statelessness, especially in the modern era, territory is a problematic basis for defining Georgian sovereignty. Both Georgians and Abkhazians present extensive legally framed arguments to make their case either for or against the legal status of key moments in their modern history. Abkhazians and South Ossetia's articulate their claim to sovereignty based on an empirical claim to statehood. A force framework is used through which the Abkhazians and South Ossetia's externally legitimate their projects for sovereignty. Many articles and speeches by the Georgian elite during and after the August war demonstrate how central a post-colonial framework has become in structuring Georgian discourse.