“QUADRIGA” STATEMENT: OUR COMMITMENTS, OUR SECURITY, OUR OSCE
Within the framework of the 28th OSCE Ministerial Council, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Albania, Sweden, Poland, and North Macedonia, as the previous, current, incoming, and future Chairpersons of the OSCE issued the following statement - STOCKHOLM “QUADRIGA” STATEMENT: OUR COMMITMENTS, OUR SECURITY, OUR OSCE.
The so-called Quadriga reaffirms its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders and underlines its concern about the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in the Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
The Quadriga, on behalf of the OSCE, expresses unwavering support for the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and reaffirms that the OSCE is committed to continuing its leadership of this format, together with the European Union and the United Nations. It is important the GID make progress on core issues of non-use of violence and international security arrangements, as well as the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.
The document also calls for the commitments made in the ceasefire agreement of 2008 to be implemented immediately and in full.
OSCE Media Freedom Representative strongly deplores the continued practice of judicial persecution of journalists in Russia
VIENNA, 15 August 2022 – Following recent cases of criminal and administrative charges against journalists and media professionals in the Russian Federation, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, strongly deplores the continued practice of judicial persecution resulting in further decline in media freedom and access to information.
“Over the last few weeks, a considerable number of new cases of judicial persecution have been brought to my attention,” said Ribeiro. “These cases often refer to the alleged ‘dissemination of false information about the Russian armed forces,’ which is criminally punishable under a new law adopted following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Marina Ovsyannikova, former producer at Pervyi Channel, has been charged with ‘dissemination of false information about the Russian armed forces’ and faces up to ten years imprisonment for a single-person picket she organized in front of the Kremlin on 15 July. Perviously, Fortanga’s editor-in-chief and journalist Isabella Evloyeva faced a criminal charge for a similar offence of ‘dissemination of false information’ based on her posts on Fortanga’s Telegram channel about the losses of the Russian army and the bombardment of a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.
“The charge of spreading ‘false information’ in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine is being instrumentalized for the purposes of silencing dissenting voices,” Ribeiro said.
Furthermore, administrative fines continue to be used to financially undermine media outlets and journalists. For example, authorities imposed a fine on Novaya Gazeta for ‘abuse of media freedom’ and threatened to invalidate its registration both as a print and digital outlet. Vladislav Postnikov, editor-in-chief of the Ekaterinburg-based independent news outlet, Vietchierniye Vedomosti, and Sergey Smirnov editor-in-chief of Mediazona were also fined on charges of ‘discrediting the use of Russian armed forces.’
On 9 August, Life.ru journalist and former correspondent for Kommersant and Izvestia, Alexandra Bayasitova, was put in pre-trial detention and charged with ‘extortion in order to get property’ (art. 163-6.3, Criminal Code). She faces up to 15 years imprisonment if convicted.
“Journalists must not be punished for carrying out their professional duties. In addition, pre-trial detention should not be used for putting unjust pressure on media workers. By violating OSCE commitments, Russian authorities deny their citizens access to essential information and create an atmosphere of fear and repression,” concluded Ribeiro.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter @OSCE_RFoM and facebook.com/osce.rfom.
August 2008 Russia-Georgia war: EU reiterates its support to Georgia’s territorial integrity
The EU reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s recognition of and continued military presence in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “It is a violation of both international law and of Russia’s commitments under the 12 August 2008 agreement,” says a press release issued by the EU Delegation to Georgia on the 14th anniversary of the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
“The human rights of conflict-affected communities in Georgia continue to be violated, including through so-called ’borderisation’ policies, closures of crossing points and illegal detentions. Restrictions on their freedom of movement must end,” says the press release. “We call again for accountability, including a credible investigation of all past violations of human rights to hold the perpetrators to account, to bring justice to the victims, and to ensure proper follow-up by the Russian Federation of the landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2021.”
The EU says it remains fully committed to conflict resolution, including through its engagement as co-chair in the Geneva International Discussions, through the work of its Special Representative and the continued presence on the ground of its Monitoring Mission. The EU also reiterates its firm support to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
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Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Georgia
Fourteen years ago today, Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia. As we have done since 2008, we remember those killed and injured by Russian forces. For decades, the citizens of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have lived under Russian occupation and tens of thousands have been displaced, persecuted, and impoverished. Lives and livelihoods have been taken from them.
This year, Russia’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for the people of Georgia and Ukraine to stand together in solidarity. The people of Georgia know all too well how Russia’s aggressive actions, including disinformation, so-called “borderization,” and mass displacement cause untold hardships and destruction.
Russia must be accountable to the commitments it made under the 2008 ceasefire – withdrawing its forces to pre-conflict positions and allowing unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It also must reverse its recognition of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. This is essential for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons to be able to return to their homes safely and with dignity.
We remain steadfast in our support for the people of Georgia as they seek to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity and find a peaceful solution to the conflict.PRESS STATEMENT
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs On the 14th anniversary of Russia's military aggression against Georgia in August 2008
Today, the 7th of August 2022, marks the 14th year after the full-fledged military intervention of the Russian Federation against Georgia in 2008. It entailed illegal occupation of the inseparable regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and their recognition as so-called independent states by Russia.
After 14 years of the occupation, Russia does not fulfill the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and expands its illegal control in the occupied regions, continues the process of their militarization, actively undertakes steps towards their de-facto annexation. With building barbed wires and other artificial barriers along the occupation line, illegal detentions and kidnappings, gross violations of human rights and ethnic discrimination of Georgians it is undermining the security, human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground and is trying to isolate the people living in the occupied territories from the rest of Georgia and the international community.
Violation of fundamental human rights in Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, ethnic discrimination and the violation of the right of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to return to their homes in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia continues to be a heavy humanitarian burden of Russia’s illegal occupation. The impunity encouraged in the cases of deprivation of lives of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili increases the risk of further violence on ethnic grounds.
Against this background, unrestricted access of international human rights bodies and the establishment of international security mechanisms on the ground, as well as access of the EU Monitoring Mission to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which is hampered by the occupation force, is becoming even more critical.
Against this challenging backdrop, the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights from 21 January 2021 on the 2008 Russia-Georgia war was a pivotal event. It legally confirmed the fact of occupation and effective control over Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation. Therefore, Russia was held accountable for the blatant violations of human rights and basic freedoms on the ground. This decision, which is the first legal assessment of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, reveals the futility of Russia’s longstanding effort to avoid legal responsibility for the illegal occupation of Georgian regions and its consequences.
Georgia unequivocally continues implementation of the policy of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and is determined to use the diplomatic and legal instruments and continue close cooperation with its international partners to ensure unification and peaceful development of the country, facilitate confidence building between the communities divided by the occupation line and creation of a common European future.
Georgia is grateful for the unwavering support of the international community to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and highly appreciates the contribution of international partners in the process of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict. This support is particularly crucial today when with its military aggression against Ukraine the Russian Federation continues ignoring the fundamental principles and norms of international law and undermines the entire European security.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the Russian Federation to cease illegal and provocative steps against Georgia, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, to fulfill the obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia and to reverse the illegal decision on recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied regions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeals to the international community to continue consolidated efforts for achieving peaceful conflict settlement and de-occupation of Georgian territories, the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes, and ensuring peace and security in Georgia and the region as a whole.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs extends its condolences to the families and relatives of the soldiers and civilians who died heroically in the 2008 war.
The sixth round of bilateral political consultations have been held between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Arab Republic of Egypt
On 28 July 2022, Tbilisi hosted the sixth round of bilateral political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Arab Republic of Egypt. From the Georgian side, the consultations were led by the Deputy Minister, Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili, and from the Egyptian side – by the Deputy Minister on European Issues, Ihab Nasri.
The sides discussed the current issues on the cooperation agenda between Georgia and the Arab Republic of Egypt. They highlighted the necessity of deepening the existing cooperation in the political, trade-economic, investment, cultural, education and tourism areas. Special emphasis was put on the importance of exchanging high-level visits between the two countries, of improving the legal framework and cooperation within international organizations.
The sides reviewed current issues on the international agenda at the regional and global level, the ongoing processes in the Caucasus and Middle East regions, Russia's war in Ukraine. Talking points included the challenges facing the regions and the world as a whole and their impact on the security environment.
The Egyptian side was provided with information about the current situation in the occupied territories of Georgia, the Geneva negotiations, and the gross violations of human rights and international legal agreements by Russia in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. The Egyptian side once again confirmed its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.
The sides agreed to continue active cooperation in different directions.
MFA of Georgia