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David Dondua at the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, June 4, 2018. Photo: facebook.com/mfageorgia

Deputy Foreign Minister Reports to Parliament on Syrian Recognition

Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua, who oversees the country’s non-recognition policy, reported yesterday to the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Syria’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“Syria is not only our problem, it is a problem of the entire civilized world,” Dondua stressed after the committee hearing, which was closed for the media representatives. “The Assad regime’s decision was not a surprise to us; some signs were already visible, especially after 2015, when Russia launched a military operation in Syria and Bashar al-Assad solidified his positions thanks to Moscow,” he said.

“From then on, there were threats that the Assad regime could recognize the so called independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, and we worked very actively both bilaterally with Syria and through our partners and international organizations, but as time passed and the Assad regime turned more and more isolated, the less leverage our American and European partners had [on Damascus],” Dondua also noted.

The Deputy Foreign Minister added that the only force “running the affairs” in Syria, was the Kremlin, which managed to secure the Assad regime’s recognition “through menace, provocations and pressure.”

“Since August 26, 2008, when Russia recognized the so called independence of Georgia’s occupied regions, the Kremlin has been trying to present their political status [as independent entities], and help them establish international contacts, so that it justifies its illegal actions with regards to Georgia’s occupation and ethnic cleansing.”

The Deputy Minister then stressed that the recognition by Syria was illegitimate, and reassured that it would not have any consequences over the region. “We do not expect the so called domino effect,” he said, referring to the reports that Syrian recognition could spill-over to other Arab countries.

Davit Dondua also underlined that the Ministry would continue working not only with the Arab countries, but all across the world to prevent further recognitions from happening. “Unfortunately, there are criminal regimes, failed, quasi states, were the Kremlin has certain financial, military and political leverages and instruments of pressure; we have all such countries, regions and organizations identified and are actively working on all fronts,” he added.

Syria announced its decision to establish diplomatic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on May 29, making it the fifth United Nations member state to have recognized the two regions’ independence from Georgia. Tbilisi has responded with severance of diplomatic relations with Damascus. A number of countries and international organizations, including the NATO, the United States and the European Union denounced the Syrian recognition.

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