Lincoln Mitchel analytics on Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia

Published in Politics
Friday, 06 January 2017 17:30

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.

Visit by UK’s Minister of State for Europe and the Americas to Georgia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 10:35

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.

The so-called guard of occupied South Ossetia arrested 3 citizens of Georgia

Published in Society
Monday, 24 October 2016 17:20

The so-called guard of occupied South Ossetia arrested 3 citizens of Georgia. According to the so-called State Security Committee of occupied South Ossetia, the citizens of Georgia were arrested at the so-called border at October, 21-23.
The arrested persons are residents of Karkushaani village, Didi Mejvriskhevi and Kirbali village.
"Given the fact that the violators did not have any documents, the South Ossetian State Security Committee is working of the data,” –it is said in a statement.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili addresses UN Delegates of a High Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 10:20

Georgia will continue to contribute to international efforts in addressing large movements of migrants and refugees - regardless of our small size or our own security challenges. - was a key note message in the speech delivered by H.E. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at a High Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters today. Prime Minister also noted that 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched one year ago, from that very UN tribune, with a pledge that "no one will be left behind".
"With this statement the UN Member States committed to address the consequences of a migrant crisis which was already leaving millions stranded. Yet forced displacement has since then only increased, with a staggering 300 million international migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons registered this year. Against this backdrop conflicts and insecurity in parts of Africa and the Middle East continue to drive mass exodus, and the death toll of migrants crossing borders continues to climb. Millions globally are still at risk of being left behind" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Head of the Government of Georgia stressed that burden of forced displacement has not bypassed Georgia.
Since the early 90s, Georgia's regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia have witnessed several waves of ethnic cleansing under occupation by the Russian Federation. Approximately 400 000 persons have been forcibly displaced - when Georgia's entire population makes up only 4 million. Prospects of their safe return are grim with ongoing creeping annexation and installation of barbed wire fences along the occupation line. Meanwhile, ethnic Georgians in the occupied territories continue to suffer from daily discrimination. It is simply not possible to turn a blind eye to this, and to what is going on worldwide" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.
As noted by the Head of Government, Georgia has already received more than 4 000 asylum seekers from various parts of the world, e.g Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Egypt, and Somalia. Georgian Universities offer educational programs for students from displaced communities. "We are committed to continuing our assistance in the educational sphere, together with interested partners, including donor countries or organisations that can provide financial support to this initiative" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.
In his opinion, International Organisation for Migration, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other international agencies have made immense efforts to alleviate the plight of victims. But the gravity of the situation requires a coordinated political response - the situation now is unprecedented. "We need to address the root causes of forced displacement to ensure the situation does not get out of control. We need to be proactive rather than reactive, prevent escalation of conflicts and preclude further waves of displacement. The question is: where do we start? Violation of international law is one of the root causes of conflicts. If we make sure that all actors abide by the law and strictly observe their commitments, we can start moving towards a more peaceful world. We can start preventing crises and the mass exodus that ensues from the millions affected. At the Istanbul World Humanitarian Summit this May we committed to promote a new approach and support the emergence of safe, dignified, and durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons. The right to safe return is a basic human right and it must be guaranteed, irrespective of political differences" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Georgia’s European Choice ‘Irreversible,’ says Georgian Prime Minister

Published in Politics
Thursday, 15 September 2016 10:55

BY ASHISH KUMAR SEN
In an election season in which Georgia's NATO aspirations have been hotly debated, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili insists that his country's European choice is "irreversible."
"An overwhelming majority of the people of Georgia consider the goal of joining EU and NATO to be a necessity that will lead to a higher standard of democracy, security, peace, and prosperity in our country and region," Kvirikashvili said in an interview.
Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 8.
"While there are policy differences between many of the political parties running for office, it is remarkable that all major parties are unified in their commitment to further integration with the West," said Kvirikashvili.
A National Democratic Institute survey conducted earlier this year found strong support among Georgians for their government's Euro-Atlantic aspirations-68 percent in support of NATO and 71 percent for the European Union.
Nevertheless, in June, Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Democratic Movement party, said: "Georgia should reject joining any kind of military bloc, be it NATO or any other military alliance. There should be no troops of any foreign country or a bloc on the Georgian soil."
In response, Davit Usupashvili, the leader of the Republican Party and speaker of the parliament, proposed a bill that would reflect Georgia's NATO aspirations in its constitution.
Georgia's quest for NATO membership has made little headway amid concerns among some members of the Alliance that such a move would incite Russia.
Asked about the Russian factor in Georgia's European aspirations, Kvirikashvili said: "[W]e firmly believe that embracing the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Georgia and other countries of the region will send a strong signal that the re-emergence of spheres of influence and attempts to limit the foreign policy choices of sovereign states are unacceptable in the 21st century."
In our interview, Kvirikashvili also made the case for the EU to grant visa-free travel to Georgians. He contended that visa liberalization will be a "tangible benefit for our citizens, who overwhelmingly support European integration."
"It will also serve as a crucial reminder to the people in the occupied territories of the advantages of our European and Euro-Atlantic integration," he added, referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two provinces that were occupied by Russia following the war with Georgia in 2008. Russian President Vladimir Putin has since signed treaties with both provinces that give Moscow control over their defense as well as their borders.
EU enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty earlier in September that a decision on visa liberalization for Georgia will be made later this year.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili commented on a wide range of topics in an e-mail interview with the New Atlanticist's Ashish Kumar Sen. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing Georgia today?
Kvirikashvili: The biggest task we face is remaining a beacon of stability and driver of economic growth in a region where we are surrounded by complex challenges. We have made great progress in recent years with respect to economic development, social cohesion, and democratic consolidation. But there is still work to do. We will never stop working to create a more free and prosperous Georgia.
As a result of Russian aggression in the August 2008 war, 20 percent of our territory remains occupied, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forcefully driven from their homes. We are reminded of their plight every day, and the lessons of August 2008 drive our efforts to build a stronger, more resilient nation.
That's why we are focused on transforming challenges into opportunities and building a country where all Georgians can thrive.
Q: What does the recently deepened security cooperation with the United States mean for Georgia?
Kvirikashvili: Expanding Georgia's defense capabilities and military-technical cooperation with the United States is crucial in the context of our security challenges. Secretary [of State John] Kerry's visit [to Tbilisi in July] was another demonstration of the United States' tremendous support for Georgia, which has been vital throughout the past twenty-five years since we regained independence. This is especially true in terms of Washington's staunch support of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as our strong NATO and EU aspirations.
Secretary Kerry and I signed a Memorandum on Deepening the Defense and Security Partnership between our two nations that is aimed at enhancing Georgia's self-defense capabilities and resilience. Under this new framework, we will exchange information and work together to counter common threats. It will also enable enhanced cooperation in areas of critical importance for Georgia's military, including strengthening the long-term sustainability of Georgia's forces and supporting defense procurement.
The United States has a dedicated friend in Georgia-a stable geopolitical ally and a strategic partner with common values and shared global security priorities. For over a decade, we have served alongside US servicemen in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, we are focused on territorial defense measures, which are important for Georgia's security and regional stability. Cooperation with the United States is the key to our success.
Last week, in a strong showing of bipartisan unity, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 660, conveying America's support for Georgia's territorial integrity by a vote of 410 to 6. This bill signifies a powerful statement by the United States in support of Georgia and its sovereignty.
Q: At its Warsaw Summit, NATO urged countries that aspire to join the Alliance, including Georgia, to continue to implement necessary reforms in preparation for membership. Do you believe that post-Warsaw Georgia is any closer to securing NATO membership?
Kvirikashvili: Yes, we do believe we are closer to NATO membership.
The Warsaw Summit demonstrated that Georgia is progressing on its path towards NATO membership in terms of both political and practical cooperation. The allies reconfirmed that Georgia will become a member of NATO in accordance with the Bucharest Summit decision. They underlined that the integration process is moving forward and Georgia has all the practical tools to prepare for membership.
In the context of practical cooperation, the allies agreed to provide additional support and assistance to strengthen Georgia's self-defense, security, and resilience. These important new decisions include: affiliation of the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) with training and educational activities of the Allied Command Transformation (ACT); a provision of support for the development of Georgia's air defense and air surveillance; and the establishment of a trust fund for financial support for effective implementation of NATO-Georgia projects.
The allies have underlined that both the existing and new initiatives are helping Georgia, an aspirant country, progress in its preparations towards membership.
And, in an event that sent a powerful message, just two months after the summit on September 7 and 8, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) visited Georgia to discuss the practical way to implement the Warsaw decisions. It was the Council's fourth visit to our country.
Q: What are Georgia's immediate priorities in terms of implementation of reforms?
Kvirikashvili: Domestically, our biggest priority is implementing our Four Point Reform Agenda to further modernize our country in a way that benefits all Georgians and creates new jobs.
This plan prioritizes further tax liberalization to foster a growth friendly tax system, aligning Georgia's tax system with the Estonian Taxation Model. This model provides an exemption from the profit tax for all businesses that don't distribute profit. The new rules will come into force in January 2017.
We also plan to accelerate the development of major highways to integrate them into the regional transportation network. This will bolster Georgia's role on the new "Silk Road" and distinguish it as a prime tourist destination.
Tourism is one of the important engines of Georgia's economy and a big job creator. The number of tourists from all over the world to Georgia is increasing nearly every year. Our hotels are heavily booked and new hotels are a key feature of Georgia's infrastructure development.
We are also focused on reforming our education system to improve instruction in secondary schools and higher education in order to bridge the gap between professional supply and demand.
Finally, by fostering open governance we seek to further increase private sector involvement in the legislative process and modernize the delivery of public services.
Q: Are you concerned that Russia wields a veto over Georgia's NATO membership? Why is it important for the Alliance to avoid such pressure?
Kvirikashvili: The decision that Georgia will become a member of NATO was taken at the Bucharest Summit and has been reconfirmed by the subsequent decisions. Therefore, it's not a question of "whether" but "when" will Georgia became a member.
As it was underlined by the [NATO] Secretary General [Jens Stoltenberg] during the NAC's recent visit to Georgia, NATO has a fundamental principle that every sovereign nation has the right to decide its own path, including what kind of security arrangements or military alliance it enters. The decision on Georgia's membership will be taken solely by the Alliance members based on the merits of Georgia and how it can contribute to security of the Alliance.
NATO membership is the sovereign choice of the Georgian people and the ultimate goal of our government. We are determined to do our very best to achieve this objective. At the same time, we understand that we have a challenging road ahead and we are ready to follow every step to accomplish this goal.
At the same time, we firmly believe that embracing the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Georgia and other countries of the region will send a strong signal that the re-emergence of spheres of influence and attempts to limit the foreign policy choices of sovereign states are unacceptable in the 21st century. Georgia's membership in NATO will widen the zone of security and stability in Europe, thus serving common interests of both the allies and Georgia. Georgia has proven its political determination and ability to contribute to common security and stability. We have demonstrated that we are not looking just for the security guarantees, but stand ready to share the burden of collective security.
Furthermore, our membership will have a stabilizing effect on the region, which would positively influence regional security. Georgia's success on its path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration will be a powerful testimony that democratic transformation and respect for independent foreign policy choices are possible in our region.
Q: In the run-up to the October elections, some political leaders in Georgia have suggested that Georgia officially reject joining NATO. Are pro-Western leaders in Georgia being hurt by delays on securing NATO membership and visa-free EU travel?
Kvirikashvili: Georgia's European choice is irreversible. An overwhelming majority of the people of Georgia consider the goal of joining EU and NATO to be a necessity that will lead to a higher standard of democracy, security, peace, and prosperity in our country and region.
Our people have supported the government in carrying out an ambitious reform agenda. Visa liberalization will be a tangible benefit for our citizens, who overwhelmingly support European integration. It will also serve as a crucial reminder to the people in the occupied territories of the advantages of our European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 8. While there are policy differences between many of the political parties running for office, it is remarkable that all major parties are unified in their commitment to further integration with the West. Prior to the Warsaw Summit, all major political parties signed a joint appeal to NATO member states to support Georgia's European-Atlantic aspirations. In addition, over twenty NGOs have formed a Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia. In the past few years, we have successfully conducted free and fair presidential and local elections, and we will complete the circle with the parliamentary elections.
The project of European integration is ongoing and it is not complete without Georgia. With respect to democracy promotion, development, peace-building and liberalization, the project of European integration is unmatched.
Georgia has gained many economic, political, and security benefits from pursuing the European and Euro-Atlantic integration path. The Georgian people are patient and clear-eyed about the timing, and I am confident they will continue to support pro-Western political leaders. In the final analysis, Georgia benefits both from the journey and the destination.
Q: What steps is Georgia taking to address German concerns regarding organized crime-a concern that has held up visa-free EU travel for Georgians?
Kvirikashvili: Georgia remains a committed, capable, and reliable partner for the EU in the fight against organized crime. To address crime, Germany and Georgia have intensified cooperation over the last two years-with concrete results to show. Crime rates of Georgian citizens living in Germany are among the lowest of all migrant groups residing in the country, and liberalizing short-term travel between Georgia and Germany poses no risk of increased criminal activities.
In recent years, Georgia has cracked down on organized crime domestically as well. We will continue to build and expand our relationship with Germany and other international law enforcement authorities to combat these issues and prevent any risks of networks operating abroad.

 

NATO Secretary General welcomes Georgia’s reform efforts

Published in Politics
Thursday, 08 September 2016 17:41

At the end of a two-day visit to Tbilisi, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg encouraged Georgia to continue implementing fundamental reforms to prepare for NATO membership. He stressed that “the bonds between NATO and Georgia are stronger than ever.”
Meeting with President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Thursday (8 September 2016), Mr. Stoltenberg praised Georgia for its important contributions to NATO’s operations and activities. He noted that the Alliance is committed to helping Georgia move towards NATO membership, including through the NATO-Georgia Commission and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. NATO experts in Georgia are providing advice on defence planning, education and cyber security, while Allies have increased joint training and exercises with Georgian troops.
The Secretary General also thanked Georgia for its steady progress on constitutional and electoral reforms. “We look forward to the upcoming elections meeting the highest democratic standards, because, as a community of values, NATO puts a premium on democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he said. Mr. Stoltenberg added that the Alliance is closely following the security situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At the Warsaw Summit, Allies reaffirmed NATO’s full commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders.

 

Russia has big influence on the governments of occupied Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia-PM

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 17:13

Russia has big influence on the governments of occupied Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia, - this statement was made by the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili in the hotel Rooms after the international conference Europe's Changing Geostrategic Landscape after the Warsaw Summit.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili talked about some incidents. According to him, the citizen of Georgia was killed at occupation line some months ago and the murderer is free. As Prime Minister said, he can’t see solution of this kind of problems because Russia has big influence on the governments of occupied Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia.

Tskhinvali plans to begin works for strengthening administrative border

Published in Politics
Monday, 04 July 2016 17:27

Tskhinvali plans to begin works for strengthening administrative border – This statement was made by the so-called leader of Occupied South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov. He met with the head of Russia's Federal Security Service in Moscow. They discussed the works for strengthening administrative border and talked about the agreement between the so-called South Ossetia and Russia. The border is closed now.
According to him, the issue of Georgia was not discussed. 

PACE President commends Georgia’s true European aspirations

Published in World
Sunday, 03 July 2016 19:13

Ending his official visit to Georgia, Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, commended Georgia’s European aspirations and commitment to Council of Europe values.

“During my official meetings with the Georgian authorities, I felt a genuine and heartfelt desire to further European integration and commit to the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” President Agramunt said. “Georgia has been a member of our organisation for 17 years; during this time it has made considerable progress in terms of democratic reforms and strengthening state institutions. I am sure that with the recently launched Action Plan 2016-2019, Georgia will continue on this positive path and reach its reform objectives”.

In his discussions, President Agramunt focused, in particular, on the forthcoming parliamentary election. “With all my interlocutors I raised the recent reports of violent attacks against political activists. All acts of violence should be firmly condemned and fully investigated. All parties should refrain from provocative acts which could lead to further tension. I was reassured by the authorities that they would devote even greater energy to adopt and implement measures aimed at preventing further violence in order to deliver to Georgian citizens the fair, democratic and peaceful environment they deserve”, he said.

In discussing the forthcoming elections, President Agramunt also raised the issue of electoral reform. While welcoming that some progress has been achieved in particular with regard to redrawing election districts, PACE President noted that the majority and the opposition had not been able to agree on a new electoral system in time for the October elections. “The new Parliament will have an important mission to find a common agreement on the new system before the 2020 elections,” he concluded.

Trials against former officials, as well as the recent judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Merabishvili vs. Georgia were also discussed. “I made it clear to my interlocutors that there should be no impunity for corruption offences and human rights violations. However, investigations and trials should be conducted in a transparent, efficient and independent manner, from the outset to the completion. The recent judgement of the ECtHR highlighted some issues of concern and I encouraged the authorities to address them effectively and to carry out appropriate investigations”.

Turning to the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, and South Ossetia, Georgia, PACE President reiterated that the Assembly fully supported Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He praised the Georgian authorities' current policy, which was based on increasing confidence building measures and reducing political tensions. “Rebuilding trust between the sides is of utmost importance and I welcomed some positive steps taken, including opening the doors of educational institutions and medical centres to all. I am, nonetheless, concerned by some recent developments which do not help this process, notably the murder of a Georgian citizen on 19 May near the administrative boundary line in the village of Kurcha”.

Finally, President Agramunt welcomed the commitment made by the Georgia Prime Minister to put in place the necessary conditions for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in the near future.

During his official visit, PACE President met with the President of the Republic, Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikheil Janelidze, the Speaker of Parliament, David Usupashvili, as well as members of the delegation of Georgia to the PACE.

In Tbilisi, President Agramunt also participated in the 25th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, during which he met with the OSCE PA President, Mr Ilkka Kanerva, and addressed the Assembly at its opening plenary session. In his speech, PACE President praised the excellent cooperation existing between the two Assemblies and highlighted some topics on which this collaboration should be strengthened, including the fight against terrorism and the search for a common response to the migration and refugee crisis.

“I don’t support Georgia to become member of NATO with these conditions,"-Tamaz Mechiauri

Published in Politics
Monday, 09 May 2016 15:19

“I don’t support Georgia to become the member of NATO with these conditions,”-this statement was made by the ruling party member, Tamaz Mechiauri. According to him, nobody will accept us in alliance if we say no to Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia.
On the question exactly who requests this from Georgia, Mechiauri said that “it says all.” As he noted, all the NATO members think that we demand the so-called South Ossetia and Abkhazia from NATO: “This means that NATO should begin war against Russia. Which country is ready for this?”-Mechiauri said.

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