NIKOLOZ SAMKHARADZE TO SVEN MIKSER: THIS IS MY REQUEST AND APPEAL: HOW CAN WE ELIMINATE THE TERM "SOUTH OSSETIA" FROM YOUR OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS?Thursday, 03 February 2022 17:15
"The Constitution of Georgia does not recognize the term "South Ossetia". How can you completely eliminate this phrase from your official documents? Furthermore, it is a Stalinist term, and it is not pleasant when the European Union or any of our partner countries uses the Stalinist term”, - Nikoloz Samkharadze, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, addressed to Sven Mikser, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Georgia.
The Chairman of the Committee noted that, in general, the West is fighting against Stalinist manifestations, and in contrast, the term "South Ossetia" is used in all its documents.
"This is a Stalinist term that dates back to 1922. As a result, my most humble request is that you think about this matter, and if any official adjustments are required, we will make them”, - Nikoloz Samkharadze stated.
Sven Mikser, the European Parliament's Rapporteur on Georgia, addressed the joint sitting of the European Integration and Foreign Relations Committees, after which the sitting continued in a question-and-answer session.
Twelve years have passed since Russia invaded the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. August 7 is a somber reminder of the thousands who have suffered and continue to suffer in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Today, we remember residents forced out of their homes and forced to live as internally displaced persons. We remember innocent civilians who died because the de facto authorities closed the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL) and denied them access to emergency medical care. We remember families torn apart and robbed of their livelihoods by illegal “borderization” activities. As the whole world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, Georgia also suffers from the loss of trade between communities now cut off by arbitrary lines, further hampering economic recovery.
In the past year, we also witnessed a major Russian-led incursion, attempting to control hundreds of meters of additional Georgian territory at Chorchana-Tsnelisi. Russia continues to violate the conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreement. Russian “border” guards detain civilians and use violence along the ABL, including recently shooting a Georgian citizen. Russian-led security forces continue to encroach deeper into Georgian territory, trying to expand the occupied territories meter by meter.
Russia’s responsibilities under the 2008 ceasefire agreement are clear: Russia must withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions and allow unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We also call again on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is essential for hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to be able to return safely and with dignity to their homes. The United States' commitment to our friends and partners in Georgia remains steadfast. We stand with the people of Georgia and join them in calling for these communities, divided by Russian aggression, to be united once again.
US Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South OssetiaTuesday, 11 June 2019 10:17
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.
PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia, Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) and Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC), have condemned the ongoing “borderisation” of the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia by the Russian Federation.
“These illegal actions by the Russian Federation undermine stability in the region and split families and people. We call upon the Russian authorities to cease these actions and to allow free movement of people across the administrative boundary lines with South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” said the co-rapporteurs following a recent visit to Tbilisi.
“We wish to reiterate our strong support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and call upon the Russian Federation to fully respect its membership obligations and accession commitments to the Council of Europe in this regard, as outlined in several Assembly resolutions on the consequences of the war between Russia and Georgia,” added the co-rapporteurs.
Joint statement of the Group of Friends of Georgia 10 years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia
This statement is made on behalf of Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States of America.
We reaffirm our full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Ten years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia, we remain deeply concerned over the continued occupation of Georgian territories and underline the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, based on full respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
We urge the Russian Federation to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
In the ten years since the August 2008 war, Georgia has made progress in strengthening democracy and good governance, as well as in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and economic development. It is disappointing that these benefits cannot be enjoyed by the residents of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We believe a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict would have a transformative effect not only on Georgia but on the region as a whole.
We support the Geneva International Discussions (GID) as an important format to address the security, human rights, and humanitarian challenges stemming from the unresolved conflict.
Ten years after the establishment of the GID, we regret the lack of progress on the core issues of the discussions, including the non-use of force, establishing international security arrangements in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions aimed at providing security and stability on the ground, and ensuring the safe and dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees.
We call upon the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, inter alia to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories of Georgia.
We support the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Gali and Ergneti and encourage the participants to find proper solutions for the safety and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population.
We condemn the conclusion of the so-called integration and alliance treaties by the Russian Federation with Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, which constitutes a clear violation of the principles of international law by the Russian Federation and directly contradicts OSCE commitments.
We express our deep concern over the increase of Russian military exercises and its further military build-up in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
We condemn the gross violations of rights related to freedom of movement and residence and to property, as well as the restriction of education in one’s native language. We underline that the so-called borderization through placement of artificial obstacles and fortifying the occupation line with barbed and razor wire fences, as well as closures of socalled crossing points, further aggravates the humanitarian situation on the ground.
We condemn the killing of Georgian IDPs Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli, and urge the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to remove any obstacles to bringing the perpetrators to justice.
In this context, we support preventive steps by Georgia aimed at eradication of the sense of impunity and aggravation of human rights in Georgia’s occupied regions, and we note the adoption of the Decree of the Government of Georgia on approval of the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list based on the relevant Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia.
We remain deeply concerned over the ethnic discrimination in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and the mass destruction of houses of Georgian IDPs, illustrations of Russia’s purposeful policy aimed at completely erasing the traces of ethnic Georgian population and cultural heritage in the occupied regions.
We support the voluntary return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin in safety and dignity.
We call upon the Russian Federation to enable access by international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the occupied territories of Georgia.
We commend the efficient work and contribution of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to prevent the escalation of tensions on the ground and call upon the Russian Federation to allow the EUMM to fully implement its mandate and enable the mission’s access to Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
We welcome Georgia’s compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its unilateral commitment not to use force, and call on the Russian Federation to reciprocate, to affirm and implement a commitment not to use force against Georgia.
We support the new peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, ‘A Step to a Better Future’, aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities to the benefit of all people.
We encourage the OSCE’s engagement in the process of finding a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Georgia conflict and support the implementation of confidence-building measures with an aim to rebuild trust and improve the living conditions of the conflict-affected communities.
We regret the closure of the OSCE mission to Georgia in 2009.
We encourage the OSCE participating States to agree on the opening of the OSCE cross-dimensional mission in Georgia for the benefit of the conflict-affected population, including a monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the occupation line. The mission will considerably strengthen the OSCE’s engagement in the GID and IPRMs, as well as in implementation of confidence-building measures.
The friends will continue to raise awareness of the conflict and the need for its peaceful resolution.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia condemns the so-called presidential elections and referendum that are being held on 9 April 2017 in occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia. According to the international law, any so-called elections or referendum in the occupied territories of Georgia are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. This provocative act by the Russian occupation forces grossly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and represents yet another attempt to legitimize the consequences of several waves of ethnic cleansing, military invasion and ongoing occupation of Georgian regions.
Holding the so-called referendum on changing the name of one of the oldest Georgian regions into “Republic of South Ossetia — State of Alania” that is similar to one of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation aims at laying the ground for its illegal annexation. This intention has been vividly demonstrated also by recently signed so-called agreement on incorporation of the unlawful military units of the Tskhinvali region into the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
By such provocative actions, the Russian Federation intentionally impedes the efforts of peaceful conflict resolution, including within the Geneva International Discussions and hinders the confidence building between the communities divided by occupation lines.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the illegal so-called elections and referendum and calls upon the Russian Federation to respect the fundamental principles of international law and withdraw its military forces from the Georgian territory.
Putin is the enemy of the international order who occupied Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia – this statement was made by the General David Petraeus.
The Voice of America asked him if US politic to Russia changes after Donald Trump elected as the president.
“The members of Trump’s team say that Vladimir Putin is not the friend of us and he is our enemy. Russia occupied Abkhazia, the so-called South Ossetia, Crimea and Donbas. Russia builds airbase in Belarus and has 1 500 soldiers in Moldova,”-he said.
What about Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Since the war in 2008, there have been few major flareups between Russia and Georgia, but numerous minor and medium sized clashes between the two countries. Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been at the center, both symbolically and actually, of many of these. It is possible to see these conflicts as having been frozen since the war, but that is not accurate. While Georgia has succeeded in stymieing Russia’s efforts to win almost any international recognition for their position that these are two independent states, Tbilisi has been unable to stop Russia from tightening its control over these regions or pushing the de facto borders, usually by erecting fences, further into the rest of Georgia.
Despite these issues and the obvious relevance of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to broader Russian efforts to increase their influence in what they call their near abroad, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not exactly front and center issues in Georgian political life. This is in part because the Georgian government lacks a clear policy approach that could solve the problem. Military solutions are not possible. Strategic patience is little more than a euphemism for doing nothing and hoping for the best. Other more innovative approaches, such as engaging in more dialog and the like would cause political problems for the ruling GD. Additionally, because both the GD and the UNM were unable to move Abkhazia and South Ossetia closer to Georgian sovereignty, neither party has much of an incentive to focus a lot of political attention on these questions.
It is, however, significant that the New Years delegation from the US Senate visited the boundary line at Khurvaleti near South Ossetia. This was a reminder, not least to Russian President Vladimir Putin, that despite Donald Trump, some in the US leadership have not forgotten about Russia’s occupation of much of Georgia. Given the increased tension, but also increasingly strange relationship, between Russia and the west, 2017 could see Abkhazia and South Ossetia taking on a political relevance that is much greater than in previous years.
The year ahead will force Georgia to confront a changing world where long held notions, like the stability of American democracy or core concepts underpinning NATO, can no longer be assumed. While Georgia must craft a strategy for a changing Washington, and changing relationships between Washington and Moscow, there are domestic issues, such as the longstanding needs to deepen multi-party democracy and create an economy that benefits ordinary Georgians that will require attention and determine what happens to Georgia this year as well.
Foreign Minister of Georgia H.E. Mikheil Janelidze welcomed H.E Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP for a bilateral visit to Georgia. The visit took place in parallel with the third round of the high level UK-Georgia bilateral “Wardrop” Dialogue, led by Foreign Minister of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze and Minister of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP. The dialogue is named after Sir Oliver Wardrop, an expert on Georgian language and culture who was posted to Tbilisi as the UK’s first Chief Commissioner of the Transcaucasus from 1919-1921.
Summary: Discussions during the Wardrop Dialogue covered current and future UK-Georgia cooperation in the political, defence and security spheres; process for Georgia’s integration with the EU and NATO; progress on priority reforms, including the government’s 4 point reform plan, and judicial reform in Georgia; and an exchange of views on regional political and security developments. Both sides positively evaluated the work achieved under the Wardrop Dialogue banner so far in the fields of foreign policy, security and defence, business and the economy. The introduction of a new session on People-to-People relations brought a new element to this year’s Wardrop Dialogue, with a particular emphasis on developing educational ties, cultural collaboration and city twinning.
At the opening Ministerial Plenary Session Minister Janelidze gave an update on developments in Georgia since the last session in 2015, including the October Parliamentary elections, and a forward look at the new Government of Georgia's agenda. Minister for Europe and the Americas Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP said that the UK looked forward to continuing to work with Georgia, and gave an update on developments in the UK since the last Dialogue in 2015. He stressed that the UK would maintain a leading role in global affairs through the UNSC, NATO, G7, and G20, and that the UK’s decision to leave the EU would not mean any reduction in its interest in, or commitment to, Georgia and the wider region. Minister Duncan stressed that the UK follows the conflict in Georgia and he condemned the ratification by the Russian Federation of the so-called “agreement” on the creation of a joint group of armed forces in Abkhazia region. In recognition of the value of this annual Dialogue and the close ties between our two countries, Minister Janelidze and Minister Duncan agreed to an upgrade of the UK-Georgia dialogue to become the “Wardrop Strategic Dialogue”.
During official level discussions, the two sides discussed cooperation on political, security and defence issues; business and economic cooperation; and the potential for further expanding people-to-people ties, education and cultural links. In the political, security and defence discussions, the UK side noted that the October parliamentary elections had been competitive and well-administered, and expressed its strong continuing support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations.
The UK also reiterated once again its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, and expressed concern over the grave security and human rights situation in Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. The UK firmly supports the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia, based on full respect of the fundamental norms and principles of international law and the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The two sides welcomed the strong security and defence relationship between their two Governments, noting the extent of defence cooperation, and welcoming continued exchange of expertise on Cyber and Counter-Terrorism issues. The UK expressed its appreciation for Georgia’s continuing contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. Both sides welcomed the participation of 160 British military personnel in the US-Georgia military exercise Noble Partner 2016.
The two sides discussed further potential for deepening business and commercial ties, noting that the UK was the second biggest investor in Georgia and that bilateral trade is on an increasing trend. They highlighted the importance of the South Caucasus pipeline as an important component of European energy security.
Finally, the two sides welcomed strong existing people-to-people links and explored ways to increase educational and cultural ties between the UK and Georgia, including the activities undertaken by the British Council in Georgia, English language training programmes, the growing number of Chevening Scholarships for Georgia, with 17 Chevening scholars this year alone, and the strong partnerships represented by the twinning associations between Newport and Kutaisi; Tbilisi and Bristol; and Newcastle and Akhaltsikhe. Both sides agreed that all efforts should be made to support and develop these links further.