“Nine years after the war, Russia still does not fulfill the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement and continues the policy of occupation and factual annexation of the [two] integral regions of a sovereign state through complete disregard of the fundamental principles of international law,” the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released on August 7 on the occasion of ninth anniversary of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
“[This is] manifested in illegal integration of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions into the Russian military-political and social-economic system, militarization of the occupied regions and reinforcement of the occupation line with barbed wires and various artificial barriers,” the Ministry added.
The Foreign Ministry also said that the situation involving “illegal detentions and abductions of people across the occupation line and the restriction of access of locals to their households and of freedom of movement,” was further complicated by “the closure of the four so called crossing points in the direction of Abkhazia.”
“Ethnic discrimination of Georgians living on the occupied territories and the infringement of their fundamental rights still continues,” the Georgian MFA noted. “While hundreds of thousands of people have been expelled from their homes, the Russian occupation regime treats the indigenous Georgian population remaining in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as foreigners in their own land.”
“After restricting the Georgian language instruction in the schools of Gali District, the same will be done in the Georgian schools of Tskhinvali Region,” the Ministry also said, adding that “the Russian occupation regime tries to isolate the people living in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and deliberately hampers their humanitarian contacts with the rest of Georgia and the world.”
Despite Russia’s “provocative actions,” however, the Government of Georgia remains firmly committed to its peaceful conflict resolution policy. “Unlike the Russian Federation, Georgia is faithfully fulfilling the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement and tries to achieve tangible results through constructive engagement in the Geneva International Discussions.”
“Moreover,” the MFA went on, “while the Russian Federation systematically exercises power in the occupied regions, Georgia has, on numerous occasions, including at legislative and executive levels, committed to the non-use of force.” “As for the barbed wires and the artificial barriers on the occupation line, we counter them through the intensive policy of confidence building between the populations divided by the war.”
“It is exactly because of this rational and peaceful policy, that despite these difficult challenges, the Government of Georgia managed to succeed in its irreversible democratic and economic development, secure stability and peace on the Tbilisi-controlled territory, and progress along the path of its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” it said and also expressed gratitude to “partner countries and international organizations for the firm support to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The Georgian side calls upon the international community to channel consolidated efforts in addressing the grave consequences of the August 2008 war and the peaceful resolution of the Russian-Georgian conflict,” the Georgian MFA said.
In its statement, the Foreign Ministry also expressed condolences to the families of soldiers and civilians killed in the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
On August 7, politicians from the opposition United National Movement visited the military cemetery at Mukhatgverdi in Tbilisi outskirts to pay tribute to Georgian soldiers fallen in the war, while the European Georgia representatives traveled to village Ergneti, close to the occupation line, just south of Tskhinvali.