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.
Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Tenth Anniversary of the August 2008 conflict in Georgia
On the tenth anniversary of the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the Secretary-General recalls that it is a reminder of the need to resolve this and other protracted conflicts in Europe. This requires increased commitment by the relevant actors, backed by strong political will and a reinvigoration of mediation processes.
The Secretary-General urges all the participants in the Geneva International Discussions to adopt a constructive, forward-looking approach that would allow this indispensable mechanism to fulfill its mandate. All concerned should prioritize progress through appropriate dialogue and refrain from divisive policies and unilateral actions that may adversely impact regional peace and security.
The Secretary-General recalls that while the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Response and Prevention Mechanism have substantially contributed to strengthening stability in recent years, more should be done on key security and humanitarian issues, including those related to the plight of the many internally displaced persons and refugees. The United Nations will continue to fully support this important mechanism and work with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to achieve progress on all issues.
7 August 2018 marks the 10th year since Russia’s large-scale military invasion in Georgia and the following illegal occupation of Georgia’s indivisible regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
Through its military aggression against the sovereign state and further illegal steps, Russia blatantly violated the fundamental norms and principles of international law and created a dangerous precedence of attacking the rules-based international order. Russia’s actions in 2008 served the ambition to redraw the borders in Europe by force and undermine the entire European security architecture.
A decade later Russia still continues the aggression against Georgia. The 1-15 August large-scale military drills in the occupied territories with involvement of thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of military equipment, represent an unprecedented attempt by Russia to demonstrate its military power, that at the same time qualifies as a use of force and threat by use of force against Georgia.
10 years since the Russia-Georgia war the Russian Federation has not implemented the EU mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and continues violating its international obligations, despite constant calls from the international community. In full disregard for the Ceasefire Agreement that obliged Russia to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia, Moscow has further reinforced its illegal military presence on the ground and continues to hinder the establishment of international security arrangements in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its great concern that the security and human rights situation in the occupied territories has been further deteriorated. Continuous fortification of the occupation line through installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers as well as constant kidnappings and illegal detentions by Russian FSB personnel further destabilize the security environment on the ground. As a result of this illegal process many families were left divided, many lost access to their agricultural lands, religious site and cemeteries. The grave human rights infringements in both in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions include but are not limited to gross violations of rights to freedom of movement, residence and property, as well as prohibition of education in native Georgian language, that have made lives of the local population unbearable.
While hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees, expelled from their homes as a result of several waves of ethnic cleansing, are still deprived of right to the safe and dignified return, those Georgians who remained in the occupied territories continue to be a subject of intensified ethnic discrimination. The recent cases of illegal deprivation of life of three Georgian IDPs – Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili vividly demonstrate the impunity and ethnically driven violence in both occupied territories.
In response to the constant provocative steps, Georgia stays committed to its peaceful conflict resolution agenda. Georgia has spared no effort to fully utilize the peace negotiations in the frames of the Geneva International Discussions as well as Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms to dully address security and humanitarian problems of conflict-affected population stemming from the unresolved conflict between Georgia and Russia. Remaining in full compliance with the EU mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, Georgia has many times unilaterally reaffirmed and implemented the non-use of force commitment, still awaiting the reciprocity from Russian side.
At the same time, Georgia has intensified the efforts towards engagement and reconciliation between the communities divided by war and occupation lines. For that purpose the Government of Georgia has introduced the new peace initiative “A Step to a Better Future” directed to improve humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and foster people-to-people contacts and confidence building between the divided societies.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia highly values the unwavering support of the international society to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as the peaceful conflict resolution process. The Georgian side appeals to the calls upon the international community to further consolidate the efforts in responding the consequences of the August 2008 war and the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia in compliance with the international law.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia once again calls on the Russian Federation to cease its illegal actions on the territory of Georgia and comply with its international obligations, in particular to reverse the decision on recognition of so-called independence of Georgia’s occupied regions and fully implement the EU mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia would like to use this opportunity and express its deepest sympathy to the families and relatives of the soldiers and civil population who fell victim to the August 2008 war.
The Government of Georgia strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Spain within its internationally recognized borders, and considers Catalonia an integral part of Spain. The Government of Georgia condemns the unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia and supports the measures of the Government of Spain to restore law and order, to regulate the situation, and to uphold in this process the Constitution of Spain, the rule of law, and the rights of every citizen of Spain.
The Government of Georgia deeply appreciates cooperation with the Kingdom of Spain as a valuable partner of our country, with our strong partnership stemming from shared values and traditional friendly ties.
GEORGIA - Revision of the Constitution - Statement by the Venice Commission President Gianni BUQUICCHIOSaturday, 02 September 2017 11:58
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The revision of the Constitution of Georgia is a major reform meant to transform the current political system into a genuine parliamentary democracy.
In June this year, the Venice Commission issued a positive assessment of the draft revised Constitution, including the declared move towards the fully proportional system of the election of all the members of Parliament. Moreover, we specifically welcomed active co-operation and the commitment of the Georgian parliament not to adopt any amendments negatively assessed by the Venice Commission.
Therefore, the postponement of the introduction of the proportional system to 2024, as well as the repeated failure of the Georgian parties to reach consensus on the revised Constitution through negotiations is disappointing.
The meeting on 6 September 2017 in Strasbourg has been cancelled. I would like to stress that it is essentially up to the Georgian parties themselves to conduct further negotiations and the involvement of the Venice Commission is not required for this process. We encourage all the parties to come to a large consensus on the text through constructive dialogue.
We expect to receive shortly the revised draft of the Constitution from the Georgian authorities and will issue an opinion on it in one month, at the October plenary session (6-7 October in Venice). We encourage the Georgian parliament, before finally adopting the revised draft, to make changes in the light of this opinion and of the dialogue with all Georgian political parties.
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia regarding the launch of ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)Wednesday, 30 August 2017 12:50
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its deep concern over the DPRK’s violation of a number of international obligations and relevant UN SC resolutions and condemns yet the test-firing of ballistic missile by Pyongyang, on August 29, 2017.
As a member state of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Georgia opposes any action contradicting international nonproliferation efforts and posing a threat to the security and stability of the region.
Over the past few days, business and banking sector representatives and citizens alike have expressed their readiness to engage in the program for restoring the forest burned following the recent devastating wildfire in the Borjomi Gorge, with several social campaigns already in full swing.
To sustain this commendable spirit among our citizens, and to consolidate and coordinate resources, the Administration of the Government will facilitate a unified e-platform to reflect all activities and initiatives under the program for the Borjomi forest restoration.
In addition, the Finance Ministry's Treasury Service has opened special bank accounts in both national and foreign currencies in order to finance firefighting operations and to restore the forest in the Borjomi Gorge.
Said e-portal will enable us to ensure the openness and transparency of deposit and expenditure operations, so that every citizen may trace the spending of each tetri donated by them for the restoration of the forest in the Borjomi Gorge.
Individuals, private sector and business representatives, and our compatriots abroad alike can donate money and deposit sums into the accounts listed below.
The “visit” by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in the occupied Abkhazia region represents a continuation of Moscow deliberate policy against Georgia.
Such action at the 9th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war serves for legitimization of forceful change of borders of the sovereign state through military aggression, ethnic cleansing and occupation. By this step, the Kremlin tries in vain to support and legitimize its occupation regimes.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the “visit” of the Russian President to the occupied Abkhazia region in violation of the Georgian state border, which blatantly infringes the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls upon the Russian Federation to cease its provocative actions against the Georgian statehood and respect the territorial integrity the sovereign state.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals also to the international community to duly assess Moscow’s aggressive steps and take effective measures to ensure that the Russian Federation fulfills its international obligations, including the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
An attack was conducted on a combined motorized patrol in the vicinity of the Bagram Air Base, in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As a result, Soldier of the 23rd Battalion of the II Infantry Brigade who served in the “Resolute Support” mission, Junior Sergeant Mdinari Bebiashvili (23.10.1991) was killed in Action. Junior Sergeant Bebiashvili served in the Georgian Armed Forces since 2010. He participated in the ISAF mission in 2012 and 2014. He has received medal for “Participating in Peacekeeping Operations”.
Three Georgian servicemen were wounded in an attack. The health condition of Captain Mikheil Gvirjishvili is stable but critical; the wounds of two other servicemen, Senior Lieutenant Giga Khakhutashvili and Corporal Gela Kharshiladze are not considered life threatening. All three of them are receiving treatment at Bagram Air Base Hospital.
The Ministry of Defence of Georgia expresses deepest condolences to the family of fallen peacekeeper, Junior Sergeant Mdinari Bebiashvili.
The Defence Minister of Georgia Levan Izoria expresses deepest condolences over the death of the Junior Sergeant Mdinari Bebiashvili in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
“I express my deepest condolences over the death of the Junior Sergeant Mdinari Bebiashvili who served in 23rd Battalion of the II Infantry Brigade. The Junior Sergeant and his platoon was on patrol with the American and local military forces when two suicide bombers carried out a terrorist act. Three Georgian servicemen were wounded in an attack. The wounds of two servicemen are not considered life threatening, and the condition of the third military serviceman is stable but critical, but everything is done in the hospital to improve its condition. In this very difficult period of time, we offer our deepest condolences to the family of our fallen comrade”, - said Defence Minister.
The US Ambassador to Georgia H.E. Ian Kelly has also expressed his condolences over the death of the Georgian servicemen. During his telephone conversation with the Defence Minister, Ambassador said that he expresses deepest condolences over the incident to the Georgian Armed Forces and the family members of the fallen soldier.
Despite the international community’s repeated calls, the Russian Federation continues to grossly violate the principles of international law and its commitments undertaken under the Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008.
This fact and the general situation in Georgia’s occupied regions and adjacent territories once again point to the necessity of establishing international security arrangements and creating human rights monitoring mechanisms on the ground.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls upon the international community to duly assess the situation in Georgia’s occupied territory and take respective measures to stop Russia’s illegal actions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia will use all levers at its disposal, including within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions and international organizations, not to let the aforesaid action of Russia remain without due international assessment and reaction.