David Dondua comments on the meeting with EU Ambassador to Georgia
The European Union’s position with respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia is clearly manifested in a great number of its statements and official comments, including in the statement issued on 8 April by the European Union External Action Service on the so-called presidential elections and the referendum conducted in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region.
Statements like those made by the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis and the Co-chair of the Geneva International Discussions are totally unacceptable and contradict the European Union’s policy and position with respect to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the illegal installations along the occupation line of Tskhinvali region
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia strongly condemns the illegal process of erection of so-called “border” signs at the occupation line of Tskhinvali region, namely in the vicinity of the village Takhtisdziri of Kareli Municipality. The installation of artificial barriers by the occupation forces already entailed the loss of access to the agricultural lands for the local inhabitants.
With this kind of provocative actions in the circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic, and moreover, during the religious holidays before the Orthodox Easter, the Russian Federation deliberately attempts to escalate the situation and further aggravate the security environment on the ground. With these steps Russia and its occupation regime are creating unbearable circumstances for the conflict-affected local population, who have been already suffering from the grave humanitarian consequences of the Russian occupation. Several people living in Tskhinvali region have already fallen victims to the closure of so-called crossing points and restriction of the freedom of movement by the occupation regime, as they were not given the possibility to cross the occupation line and get the necessary medical treatment on the Georgian Government controlled territory.
This kind of destructive steps are especially concerning in the times when the whole world is trying to fight the spread of the infection caused by the Coronavirus. In these critical circumstances, we attach particular importance to show the care and commitment to the conflict-affected population, who have long been suffering from the intensified pressure and discrimination.
The Government of Georgia spears no effort with the aim to improve the security and human rights situation on the ground. We remain in close coordination with the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions and the EU Monitoring Mission in order to ensure cessation of the illegal process of erecting the artificial barriers along the occupation line, and achieve freedom of movement for the people living in the occupation territories.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls upon the Russian Federation to immediately cease the provocative and destructive actions and implement its international obligations, inter alia the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment and take effective measures to counter the illegal process along the occupation line.
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia refers to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which blatantly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Any so-called elections held in the occupied territories are illegal and cannot have any legal effect, as they are in contradiction with the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
The above so-called elections represent yet another futile attempt by Russia and its occupation regime in Tskhinvali to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the illegal occupation and forceful change of sovereign borders of Georgia. The so-called parliamentary elections are taking place in the context, when internally displaced persons and refuges, forcibly expelled from the occupied territories, continue to be deprived of the possibility to return to their homes, and while the people on the ground are forced to live under violations of basic human rights and freedoms. At the same time, the Russian Federation continues its military build-up, control and de-facto annexation of the occupied territories, in full disregard of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and calls upon the Russian Federation to fulfill undertaken international obligations and withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory.
EU and FAO mark support to over 800 most vulnerable IDP families in Georgia
Today representatives of the EU, FAO and Georgian Government marked the end of a 2 year project which assisted over 800 of the most vulnerable IDP families in Georgia.
The two year Equal Access of IDPs to Economic Opportunities project was funded by the EU and implemented by FAO in cooperation with UN Women, and focused on developing livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups of IDPs, namely single parents with minors, households with members with disabilities, and households led by youths and the elderly. The project provided training and over GEL 4 million to help these families undertake investments in mechanization, orchards, vineyards, honey and dairy productions. In total, 830 IDP households across Georgia benefitted from the project.
The programme also funded 48 kindergartens across the country, giving up to 10,000 GEL to each institution to create playgrounds, buy bedroom furniture for babies, equip kitchens and heat the buildings. More than 2,700 children benefited.
The event was attended by Sozar Subari, the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, and Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia.
Mr Herman noted that: "The EU has been supporting IDPs in Georgia for many years now. We are proud of the most recent project, which has provided funding and training to over 800 of the most vulnerable IDP families in Georgia to develop better livelihoods. This is a true expression of the EU's commitment to help improve the lives of all Georgians, especially those most in need."
The project was the third phase of an EU/FAO initiative that started in 2009. The first two phases focused on food security and providing investment opportunities to IDPs. Each phases supported over 2000 IDP households in Georgia with a total budget of over GEL 16 million (EUR 5.4 million).
IDP beneficiaries of the project from the various regions of Georgia also attend the event, bringing their agricultural products for the exhibition which was organized as the side activity of the event. Koba Ugrekhelidze, IDP with disability from Khoni, Imereti was one of the participants. He was supported with co-investment of 2 450 GEL for enlargement of his apiary. With the obtained grant he procured additional 30 bee families, 150 frames, 150 honeycombs and beekeeping equipment.
"In August 2017, I harvested and sold 200kg of honey, improving my annual income by 30%. I plan to reinvest the profits and increase the number of beehives even more. I’m grateful for the great opportunity to expand my business", Mr Ugrekhelidze said.
The guests also enjoyed a photo exhibition of the portraits of the IDP beneficiaries.
EU Ambassador to Georgia: Revitalising rural economies vital for stimulating country’s economy
The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Georgia, Janos Herman, recently paid a series of visits to agricultural and rural development initiatives in the country supported through the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The ENPARD site visits in Kvareli and Lagodekhi were part of the Ambassador’s two-day official programme in Kakheti to explore EU support to economic opportunities in the region.
The EU Ambassador visited the vineyard and orchards of the ENPARD agricultural cooperative “Saba” in Gavazi village, Kvareli municipality. He also stopped at several rural development initiatives and met with the members of the Local Action Group (LAG) in Lagodekhi municipality.
“Agriculture and rural development has an important role to play in the sustainable development of Georgia,” – said Ambassador Herman. “Nearly half of the country’s population lives in rural areas and is employed in agriculture. Revitalising rural economies and boosting Georgia’s potential in agriculture is therefore vital for increasing welfare and stimulating the country’s economy,” he added.
In addition, the EU ambassador took part in the climate diplomacy week clean-up action with local youth and planted a tree in the EU-supported Lagodekhi Dendrology Park. In a press release, the ENPARD said the visits to EU-funded agricultural and rural development projects in Kakheti offered the Ambassador first-hand information about the successes and challenges of Georgia’s rural community, as well as the results of the EU’s support in this sector.
- See more at: http://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/news/eu-ambassador-georgia-revitalising-rural-economies-vital-stimulating#sthash.2nasd03x.dpuf
EU-Georgia Mobility Partnership moves towards better dialogue and monitoring
The first meeting of the EU-Georgia Mobility Partnership Local Cooperation Platform took place on 9 June 2017 in Tbilisi. Representatives of EU Institutions, EU Member States, Georgian authorities and international organisations discussed the mechanisms for dialogue and for monitoring projects under the Joint Declaration on a Mobility Partnership between the European Union and Georgia. The meeting highlighted ongoing projects on legal migration and mobility, fighting irregular migration, reintegration and asylum.
Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, tackled the importance of the Mobility Partnership, which remains the key framework for the EU and Georgia in steering migration and mobility issues. He also referred to the need to ensure a reliable structure and mechanisms for the dialogue under the Mobility Partnership and for the monitoring of projects. The latter should ideally involve an online monitoring tool which is also available to the public.
A kick-off meeting launching a new EU-funded project under the Mobility Partnership “High Fidelity – Exercising for Asylum Procedures", a joint initiative of Georgia and Estonia, also took place after the meeting.