Congress President condemns so-called “elections” held in occupied Abkhazia
Strasbourg, 16 March2022 - Reacting to recent so-called “parliamentary elections” held on 12 March 2022 in the Abkhazia region in Georgia, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Leendert Verbeek, made the following statement:
“By organising these “elections”, the so-called “de facto” authorities of Abkhazia, once again, undermined the principle of the territorial integrity of Georgia forcing this region further into isolation, to the detriment of the local population.
The Congress has always shown its unrelenting commitment to the territorial integrity of member States within its internationally recognised borders. This principle is all the more important in the current context of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
Not only since 24 February we know that the illegal recognition of territories of other member States can be only one step ahead of further aggression and war. This is the bitter lesson we have to learn, eventually.
Therefore, all sort of action undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a member State, is to be strongly condemned. The so-called “elections” organised in Abkhazia fall under this category and do not recognise the illegal occupation of Abkhazia by the Russian Federation. The “vote” organised in Abkhazia on 12 March, instead of strengthening, further erodes stability in this region and is, moreover, the wrong signal at the wrong time.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is participating in the Ministerial Meeting of the Council of Europe
On 19 and 20 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili will participate in the 132nd Ministerial Meeting of the Council of Europe. According to the administration of the MFA of Georgia
The Georgian Foreign Minister will address the participants of the session within the framework of the Ministerial. Ilia Darchiashvili will hold meetings with the foreign ministers of the member states of the organization, as well as with the high-ranking officials of the Council of Europe.
The 132nd Ministerial Meeting of the Council of Europe, chaired by the Italian Republic, is hosted by Turin.
L. Davitashvili noted that it is very important, in general, that Congress expresses clear support for the deepening of cooperation with Georgia
“During the meeting with our fellow congressmen in the US Congress, we received a very clear support for Georgia. We thank the Congressmen for their bipartisan support, which is expressed in the Georgia Support Act. According to the administration of the Ministry of Economics, clear political support is especially important in a difficult situation in the region, where we are talking about the US Congress and Congressmen supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in all formats,” – Deputy Prime Minister Levan Davitashvili stated after the meeting with Congressmen Darren Soto and Brendan Boyle. The meetings was held within the framework of the Vice Prime Minister’s working visit to the United States. Ambassador of Georgia to the United States, Davit Zalkaliani also participated in the meeting.
The meetings with the congressmen focused on the current events in the Black Sea region, as well as the challenges and ways of their overcoming. It was noted that the United States continues to support Georgia in its EU and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Georgia is interested in moving its strategic partnership with the United States to a new level, which is one of the main priorities of the country’s foreign policy. In this regard, the importance of deepening economic relations between the two countries as well as developing trade and investment ties, including the possibility of concluding a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, was stressed. It was also noted that the launching of direct flights between Georgia and the United States will help to further deepen bilateral economic relations.
Levan Davitashvili noted that it is very important, in general, that Congress expresses clear support for the deepening of cooperation with Georgia, and this is a very clear message. According to him, there is a desire on the part of the Congressmen to implement more joint projects with Georgia.
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has adopted a decision on the agenda item “Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia”
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted its ninth decision on the agenda item “Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia” on 4 May 2022.
The decision of the Committee of Ministers establishes the responsibility of the Russian Federation for the grave situation in Georgia’s occupied regions as the State exercising effective control over those regions. The document welcomes the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia that established the responsibility of the Russian Federation for grave human rights violations during the period of occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia following the August 2008 war, as the State exercising effective control over those regions
The Committee of Ministers also welcomes the decision of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant application for the war crimes committed in the context of the August 2008 armed conflict in Georgia, and calls on the Russian Federation to execute the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia as well as to co-operate with the Office of prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The Committee of Ministers expresses deep concern over the death of Genadi Bestaev, calls for removal of any obstacles to ending impunity in cases concerning the murder of ethnic Georgians in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and recalls the “Otkhozaria-Tatunashvili List” adopted by the Parliament of Georgia, and the national restrictive measures decided on by the Georgian Government against those responsible for grave human rights abuses in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
The Decision reiterates the call to the Russian Federation as the State exercising effective control: to immediately release Irakli Bebua, Mamuka Chkhikvadze and all other illegal detainees; to create conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of all IDPs and refugees; calls for ensuring that the Council of Europe monitoring bodies are granted access to the Georgian regions concerned.
The document highlights the importance of engagement of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary General in monitoring the human righst situation in the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes yet another decision of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on the conflict in Georgia and thanks the CoE Member States for firm support and cooperation.
MFA of Georgia
FACT SHEET: White House Calls on Congress to Provide Additional Support for Ukraine
The assistance the Biden-Harris Administration has provided to Ukraine to date has made a significant difference on the battlefield, helping Ukrainians defend their country and win the battle for Kyiv. Now, as the war shifts to and intensifies in Ukraine’s eastern front, the Biden-Harris Administration is calling on Congress to provide additional resources to help ensure Ukraine’s democracy prevails over Putin’s aggression.
The supplemental resources Congress provided on a bipartisan basis in March have been critical to bolstering security in Eastern Europe, countering Russia’s malign activities in the region, and delivering critical humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine and neighboring partners. Almost all of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress provided in March has been exhausted as the Biden-Harris Administration has surged military assistance to Ukraine, which they have used to great effect. U.S. supplied weapons and ammunitions – including anti-tank and anti-air systems, helicopters, drones, grenade launchers, and more than 50 million rounds of ammunition – have been flowing into Ukraine daily, and the United States has been working with allies and partners to facilitate deliveries of additional weapons capabilities. The Defense Department has also used $1 billion in supplemental resources to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and bolster NATO’s security posture to deter Russian aggression.
At the same time, the Administration is delivering humanitarian, economic, food, and other security assistance to Ukraine and the region. This includes roughly $1.7 billion to ensure continuity of Ukraine’s democratic operations and provide other macroeconomic assistance to the region. It also includes $650 million in military assistance to Ukraine, eastern flank countries, and other partners in the region, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in food, shelter, and other humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians who have been displaced by Russia’s war. Supplemental resources are also supporting efforts to hold Putin and his cronies accountable for their war of choice, helping the United States seize billions in assets and holdings.
Continued bipartisan support in Congress is vital to ensuring that the Ukrainian people have the resources they need to win this war, and this Administration is committed to working with lawmakers and our global allies and partners to keep aid flowing to Ukraine uninterrupted and to support those devastated by the food crisis that Putin’s war has exacerbated.
The $33 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian aid requested today will:
Help Ukraine Defend Itself Over the Long-Term
The Administration is requesting $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine and for U.S. efforts to strengthen European security in cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in the region. This includes $5 billion in additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program. These resources will put urgently needed equipment into the hands of Ukraine’s military and police, as well as help NATO deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long-term. These additional resources will be used to provide Ukraine and Eastern flank allies with:
- Additional artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor and anti-air capabilities flowing into Ukraine uninterrupted.
- Accelerated cyber capabilities and advanced air defense systems, improved production capabilities for munitions and strategic minerals, and increased intelligence support.
- Assistance to clear landmines, improvised explosive devices, and other explosive remnants of war and for the Government of Ukraine in securing and addressing threats related to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials.
- A stronger NATO security posture through support for U.S. troop deployments on NATO territory, including transportation of U.S. personnel and equipment, temporary duty, special pay, airlift, weapons system sustainment, and medical support.
Additional Economic Aid to Support Democracy in Ukraine
The Administration is calling on Congress to provide an additional $8.5 billion in economic assistance to help the Government of Ukraine respond to the immediate crisis and continue to provide basic citizen services. This includes funds to:
- Ensure Ukraine’s democratic government continues functioning; support food, energy, and health care services for the Ukrainian people; and assist the Ukrainian government in responding to operational challenges as businesses shutter and revenue collection plummets.
- Counter Russian disinformation and propaganda narratives, promote accountability for Russian human rights violation, and support activists, journalists, and independent media to defend freedom of expression.
- Support small- and medium- sized agrobusinesses during the fall harvest and for natural gas purchases by the Ukrainian state energy company in order to address critical food security, energy, and other emerging needs in Ukraine.
Address Humanitarian Needs due to Russia’s War
The $3 billion in additional humanitarian assistance will provide critical resources to address food security needs around the globe, provide wheat and other commodities to people in need, build countries’ resilience to global food supply and price shocks, and provide lifesaving aid to people displaced by or otherwise impacted by Putin’s War in Ukraine. This funding will mean:
- Direct food support, including wheat and flour, for individuals in developing countries impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as helping countries build more resilient agricultural systems.
- Medical supplies, high thermal blankets, emergency health kits, safe drinking water, shelter materials, and other lifesaving humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s war.
- Job training, trauma-informed mental health services, and resources for local school districts to support Ukrainians arriving in the United States, including the new Uniting for Ukraine program.
Bolster Sanctions Enforcement
Resources will also bolster the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture Task force efforts to pursue high value asset seizures from sanctioned individuals related to Russian actions in Ukraine. The Administration is also proposing legislation to streamline the process to recoup proceeds from seized and forfeited assets and use them to remediate the harm caused in Ukraine.
Addressing Economic Disruptions at Home and Around the World Due to Putin’s Aggression
An additional $500 million in domestic food production assistance will support the production of U.S. food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, for example, wheat and soybeans. Through higher loan rates and crop insurance incentives the request provides greater access to credit and lowers risk for farmers growing these food commodities, while lowering costs for American consumers.
Additional funding will also allow use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of critical minerals and materials that have been disrupted by Putin’s war in Ukraine and that are necessary to make everything from defense systems to automobiles. This will help address economic disruptions and reduce price pressures at home and around the world.
PACE spring session: the consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
Strasbourg, 14.04.2022 - A general policy debate on the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine will be at the centre of the spring plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in hybrid format from 25 to 28 April 2022.
In the context of this aggression, there has also been a request for an urgent debate on ensuring accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, is due to address the Assembly at midday on Wednesday, and will answer questions from the parliamentarians.
The Assembly also debates reports on strengthening the strategic partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU, safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy in Europe, and on how to put confiscated criminal assets to good use.
Also on the agenda are reports on combating children’s exposure to pornographic content, on the deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities, on preventing excessive and unjustified use of force by law enforcement officers, on tackling discrimination based on social origin, and on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia.
Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, will also present her annual activity report for 2021, and take questions from the parliamentarians. Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Council of Europe Secretary General, holds the usual question time with PACE members.
Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of Italy’s Council of Europe Presidency.
The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the first day of the session.
of the PACE