Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on approval of the programme on creation of common socio-economic space between the Russian Federation and the occupied Abkhazia region of Georgia
Approval of the programme on creation of common socio-economic space between the Russian Federation and the occupied Abkhazia region of Georgia represents another illegal step towards de-facto annexation that envisages gradual integration of Georgia’s indivisible regions into Russia’s military, political, economic and social systems.
The so-called “treaty on alliance and strategic partnership” concluded between the Russian Federation and its occupation regime in Sokhumi in November 2014 as well as all subsequent so-called “agreements”, “memoranda” or “programmes” are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. Through such provocative steps and hybrid warfare instruments, the Russian Federation blatantly violates the fundamental norms and principles of international law, undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and poses a serious threat to peace and security on the European continent.
We call upon the Russian Federation to cease its destructive actions and illegal steps directed towards de-facto annexation of Georgia’s occupied territories, implement its obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory and not to impede creation of international security mechanisms on the ground.
Public Defender’s Statement on Mikheil Saakashvili's Detention Conditions
The Public Defender's Office has visited the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is placed in Penitentiary Establishment No. 12, several times. We have been observing in detail the state of his health and conditions in the penitentiary establishment. We have intensive communication with the administration of the penitentiary system, as well as medical personnel, regarding Saakashvili’s health condition, with the consent of the latter.
It should be noted that no breaches have been reported so far in terms of provision of living conditions for the third President; adequate attention is paid to him by the medical staff of the penitentiary facility.
At the same time, the Public Defender of Georgia would like to respond to the information spread by the Special Penitentiary Service about Mikheil Saakashvili's health condition (blood pressure, pulse, saturation, glucose) and other personal data (items purchased by him). While it is clear that there is a high public interest in the health condition of the third President of the country, the agency has an obligation to inform the public only within reasonable limits. Health-related information belongs to special category data and its disclosure in detail, without the permission of the person concerned, poses a risk of violation of the law on the one hand and may contribute to the prisoner’s distrust towards the penitentiary system on the other hand, including towards the medical personnel.
The issuance of such statements by the Penitentiary Service or high political officials poses an additional risk that the prisoner, who is on a hunger strike, may also refuse to receive medical care. Therefore, we negatively evaluate any statement that pushes the prisoner to resort to a more severe form of hunger strike and further aggravates his health condition.
The Public Defender's Office will continue to monitor the rights situation of the third President of Georgia and will periodically provide information to the public.
Statement of EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell to mark World Car Free Day
In the midst of everything else that is going on these days, I would like to remind you that today is Car Free Day – an annual event organised in numerous cities all around Europe!
The idea of this day is to take a moment and reflect on the future of our cities and towns, and how to make them greener, calmer and more healthy places to live in.
In Georgia, 70% of air pollution is caused by cars and trucks. Here in Tbilisi, the number is even higher, making up for some 90% of total pollution.
Air pollution has a negative impact on health, increasing the risk of respiratory infections, fatigue, and heart and lung diseases.
To clean up the air is a key objective of the European Union, both within the EU itself and here in Georgia. We have been working in Georgia for many years to this end and our ambition remains high, including plans to invest in further equipment to better control air pollution.
We will also continue to invest in more sustainable transport alternatives, all with a view to allow all of us to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives.
I hope you will join us!
And with that let me wish you all a carefree Car Free Day.
See video at: https://bit.ly/2XD20pg
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the terrorist attack of 11 September
20 years ago this day, brutal terrorist attacks in the United States took thousands of innocent lives, injuring and affecting even more. This merciless event shook the world and changed it forever.
Today, Georgia once again remembers and honors all the victims of this tragedy, their families, friends, and loved ones. We pay tribute to real heroes – the first responders - brave police officers and firefighters who saved so many precious lives, while in some cases sacrificing their own lives and health.
We condemn terrorism in all its forms. Georgia has proved to be a reliable partner in fight against terrorism. We remain committed to continue working together with international community to advance further our joint cause of enhancing security around the world. The most rightful way to honor the victims and survivors of September 11, 2001 is to strive together for a more peaceful world.
Statement by president Charles Michel on the political situation in Georgia
Statement by president Charles Michel on the political situation in Georgia: "I have taken note of the decision by the Georgian Dream as regards the 19 April Agreement. This agreement continues to offer a European way towards building a stronger democracy and rule of law in Georgia in the interest of the Georgian people. I have equally taken note of the continued non-signature by United National Movement of the agreement.
I remain convinced that this agreement is the best way to advance a reform agenda which would strengthen the democratic institutions of Georgia and help bring about prosperity, jobs and growth - all much needed to the benefit of the people of Georgia.
I see no alternative to continued in-depth electoral and judicial reforms, and free and fair local elections.
I call on all parties to put the interests of the citizens first and to commit to advancing Georgia’s political discourse within the framework of the country’s democratic institutions. Consultations with a number of political actors in Georgia are starting. Yesterday I met with President Zourabichvili to discuss the situation and EU-Georgia relations".
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement, which we offer without change: "The United States is deeply disturbed and exasperated by the unilateral decision of the Georgian Dream party to withdraw from the April 19th Agreement, a document established through six months of difficult but collaborative negotiations, and one that gives an urgently-needed way forward for the Georgian people and their democracy. One hundred fifteen MPs from at least six of nine elected parties signed the Agreement and pledged to work together in good faith to reduce the deep polarization that is impeding Georgia’s democratic progress. Washington is growing increasingly alarmed about repeated setbacks to Georgia’s democratic future.All of the signatories should be held accountable to their commitments in the Agreement. While we continue to press for all parties to sign and fully implement the agreement, Georgian Dream’s unilateral withdrawal is another deviation from the letter and spirit of the negotiations Georgian Dream participated in and the agreement they signed. This decision by the ruling party only creates more political instability for the country and raises questions about Georgian Dream’s commitment to achieving Georgia’s democratic goals, goals that Georgian Dream itself set for the country.Georgia’s interests will be best served if the concrete judicial, constitutional, and electoral reform elements reached in the Agreement are implemented by multiparty consensus, rather than by unilateral action of one party. Timely progress in implementing these reforms is the most responsible way to end Georgia’s cycle of political crises, and remains critical to meeting Georgia's goals for its Euro-Atlantic future. Actions that create instability and divisiveness only benefit those trying to undermine Georgia’s success as a stable, prosperous democracy.The Agreement lays out a useful roadmap for important reforms that are needed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions, reduce politicization of the judiciary, improve Georgia’s electoral system and power-sharing in the Parliament, and continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law. These reforms are still urgently needed, and should be adopted through an inclusive, multiparty process.We call on all parties, including Georgian Dream, to work together to fulfill in good faith the commitments they agreed to and that are vital to Georgia’s timely integration into the European family of nations".