Mamuka Bakhtadze – Russia is trying to fully erase Georgian identity
Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze talked about problems with respect to human rights across Georgia’s occupied regions during the address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Bakhtadze said that 20% of Georgia’s territory still remained occupied by Russia and about 300 thousand IDPs were unable to return to their homes. According to PM, the militarization of occupied regions was ongoing and the de-population index was constantly increasing.
PM touched upon the frequent cases of abductions of locals and deaths of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, Davit Basharuli and Irakli Kvaratskhelia.
PM thanked the PACE for supporting “Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili” list and said that Russia tried to block all peace initiatives of the Georgian government. “With means of ethnic discrimination, Russia is trying to fully erase the Georgian identity, but this will never happen,” Bakhtadze said.
Avtandil Otinashvili, Strasbourg
Prime Minister of Georgia meets Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The key directions of cooperation between Georgia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the agenda of Georgia’s ongoing and implemented democratic reforms were the main topics discussed at today’s meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of PACE.In the meeting held at the Government Administration, special emphasis was placed on the constructive work of the PACE Monitoring Committee’s Co-Rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia. The Head of Government thanked the Parliamentary Assembly’s delegation for productive cooperation.The conversation also touched on the security environment and challenges in the region and worldwide.The topics discussed included the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. The role of support from the Council of Europe for peaceful conflict resolution was underlined. Irakli Garibashvili thanked PACE for firmly supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.The meeting was attended by Co-Rapporteurs for the PACE Monitoring Committee Claude Kern and Edite Estrela, also by Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia Natalia Voutova, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili, and Head of the Government Administration Revaz Javelidze.
THE PARLIAMENT HEARD THE ACTIVITY REPORT FOR 2022 OF THE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TO PACE
At the plenary session, MPs heard the Activity Report for 2022 of the Parliamentary Delegation to PACE, introduced by the Head of the Delegation, Irakli Chikovani.
“One of the acute issues for the PACE and for us was the devastation in Ukraine entailed by the Russian aggression and the decision made on the exclusion of Russia from the Coe and the preparation for a new Summit that is scheduled in May 2023 and that shall be dedicated to the planning of the further steps of the organization”, - he stated.
According to him, the Georgian Delegation was one of the main Delegations that approved the exclusion of Russia at the emergency session convened by the CoE. As noted, sundry resolutions have been adopted in 2022 related to the situation in Ukraine, where the Georgian Delegation in full composition, including the Majority and the Opposition MPs, unanimously approved the documents except one resolution providing the record about the third President of Georgia.
“This Resolution was connected neither to Georgia nor the situation in Georgia or the democratic reforms; it was an attempt, which by the way was quite successfully conducted by the EPP members and the rapporteur of the Resolution”, - he noted and added that the Resolution on Georgia initiated by the Monitoring Committee and adopted by the PACE reflects the immense progress achieved by Georgia in the democracy, rule of law and human rights protection directions.
“This progress is clearly underlined and which is unambiguously confirmed by the CoE as a whole, though it also provides the challenges in Georgia being addressed by the Government”, - the reporter ended his speech.
The Regime of Tyrant Putin and his Shameful Army should Unequivocally and Unconditionally get Defeated in this War !!!
February 24, 2022 is the day which will be imprinted in the memory of the people of Ukraine and the whole civilized world as the first hours of severe war of Russia against Ukraine. Today, it has been exactly a year since Russia has started a wide-scale war in the middle of Europe against independent Ukraine, which at the moment gets continued with mass assaults of heavy artillery bombs. The day today is the most painful for every Ukrainian. This is the day which substantially changed everything and moved us to the new world of unpleasant reality.
During this one-year people of Ukraine have been exposed to a lot of suffering, sadness and anxiety. Atrocities of Russian invaders and destruction are indescribable. The destructive war started by Putin led to everyday deaths of thousands of innocent peaceful citizens, elderly and children. The Russian barbarian army has already exterminated 459 Ukrainian children and these data are not final. When on everyday basis we see terrible acts of the Russian invader, I have no doubt that Putin is a tyrant and the most dangerous terrorist in the 21st-century world. When I think about what the people of Ukraine have to stand, the feeling of pain emerges and my hatred towards the Russian invader gets even more intensive.
Tyrant Putin and his terrorist authority made millions of Ukrainians to essentially leave their homes. But, despite this hard suffering, brave Ukrainian people demonstrated to everyone that fighting for independence, freedom, values, identity, territorial integrity and the strength to fight for the right to live on one’s own land is in unity and this strength is much more than the will of any Kremlin dictator. Unity, bravery and persistent fight of Ukrainian people against the Russian military aggression is exemplary for the whole world.
These hard days gave the world civilized community the feeling of solidarity and it is not a coincidence that today, on February 24, the war anniversary, the American Friendship Club decided to hold the solidarity action near the territory of the embassy of Ukraine which was dedicated to the memory of peaceful Ukrainian children, elderly and soldiers who died as a result of the Russian war.
At the same time, with this event we wanted to once again show everyone and, most importantly, the Russian authority in Georgia, what the attitude of freedom-loving Georgian nation is towards brave people of Ukraine and our common values.
Besides, the aim of today’s solidarity action was to once again remind to the Russian authority of Georgia how much evil party and individual collaboration with tyrant Putin brings.
Finally, I consider that besides military support it is extremely significant not to slowdown and further enhance support of brave people of Ukraine.
I am sure very soon brave Ukrainean people and the whole civilized world together with them will celebrate victory on the land of freedom and defeat of the tyrannous regime of Putin and his shameful army.
Indeed! Russia should unequivocally and unconditionally get defeated in this war!!!
Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Georgia and the civilized world!!!
President of the American Friendship Club - Ilia Zukakishvili
February 24, 2023
2023 Winter session: the legal and human rights aspects of Russia's aggression against Ukraine
An urgent debate* on the legal and human rights aspects of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, with the participation of Oleksandra Matviichuk, Head of the Center for Civil Liberties, 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will be among the highlights of the Winter plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in Strasbourg from 23 to 27 January 2023.
#OnTheRoadToReykjavik, a report on the fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, to be held in the Icelandic capital on 16 and 17 May, will present PACE's proposals.
There will also be addresses by the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdóttir and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić will present her communication to PACE members. The Assembly will also elect its President and Vice-Presidents.
Combating violence against women will also be a focus of the session, with a first debate on conflict-related sexual violence, and a second joint debate on the Istanbul Convention, on the role and responsibility of men and boys in stopping gender-based violence against women and girls, and on finding solutions for marital captivity.
Other topics on the agenda include the environmental impact of armed conflict, Daesh foreign fighters and their families returning from Syria and elsewhere, and the ethical, cultural and educational challenges of contact tracing applications.
* The Assembly will decide its final agenda at the opening of the session.
European Commission proposes ninth package of sanctions against Russia
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced its proposal for a ninth package of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday evening.
The Commission proposes to add almost 200 additional individuals and entities to the EU’s sanctions list. This includes the Russian armed forces, as well as individual officers and defence industrial companies, members of the State Duma and Federation Council, ministers, governors and political parties. “This list covers key figures in Russia’s brutal and deliberate missile strikes against civilians, in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children into Russia, and in the theft of Ukrainian agricultural products,” says the press release by the Commission.
Secondly, the Commission proposes to introduce sanctions against three additional Russian banks, including a full transaction ban on the Russian Regional Development Bank “to further paralyse Putin’s cash machines”.
Third, the Commission suggests imposing new export controls and restrictions, particularly for dual-use goods. This includes key chemicals, nerve agents, electronics and IT components that could be used by the Russian war machine.
Fourth, the sanctions will cut Russia’s access to all sorts of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Commission proposes to ban the direct exports of drone engines to Russia and the export to any third countries, such as Iran, which could supply drones to Russia.
Proposed economic measures against the Russian energy and mining sector include a ban on new mining investments in Russia.
Ursula von der Leyen also said that the Commission aims to target the Russian propaganda machine by taking four additional channels off the air and all other distribution platforms.
She added that this package comes on top of the full EU import ban on Russian seaborne oil that came into force this week, as well as the global oil price cap agreed between the G7.
“Russia continues to bring death and devastation to Ukraine,” said von der Leyen. “We stand by Ukraine and we are making Russia pay for its cruelty.”
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