Georgia FM to OSCE Ministerial: Situation in Abkhazia, Tskhinvali ‘Dramatically Worsening’

Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani addressed the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council in Bratislava, Slovakia on December 5. 

In his remarks, Zalkaliani noted that existing conflicts in the OSCE member states, including Georgia, should be resolved in full compliance with the principles of international law, particularly the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.  

Zalkaliani said that Georgia has been dealing with consequences of Russia’s “full-scale military aggression” for eleven years now, and that “the state of security and human rights” in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, “is dramatically worsening.”

Instead of withdrawal of its military forces from occupied regions in line with its commitments under the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement of 2008, the occupying power continues intensive militarization, further destabilizing situation on the ground,” FM Zalkaliani said.

According to him, the process is “moving forward by land-grabbing and building posts deep into Georgian government-controlled territories.” “Thirty years after the fall of Berlin Wall, my country is divided into free and occupied parts by the razor and barbwire fences,” the Georgian FM stated.

Zalkaliani also said that “people are restricted from free movement and deprived of access to their houses, farmlands, religious sites, cemeteries or water supply,” and that occupation forces “continue to kidnap local population, including women, children, and even medical doctors”.

Ethnic discrimination of Georgians, who remain in the occupied territories, is used [as] tool for political pressure on Georgia. At any moment, they may face the fate of other victims of occupation regime like Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, Archil Tatunashvili and Irakli Kvaratskhelia,” Zalkaliani said. 

According to him, “no one has been held accountable for crimes committed against them,” which strengthens “the sense of impunity in the occupied regions.” “While forcefully expelled hundreds of thousands of Georgian IDPs and refugees are still waiting for safe and dignified return to their homes, many more residents of occupied regions are on the verge of being pushed out of their houses in similar way,” Zalkaliani stated.

Reiterating Georgia’s commitment to peaceful resolution of conflict, Davit Zalkaliani said “our efforts are directed towards ensuring the reconciliation and rebuilding confidence between the communities divided by occupation line”. “We are committed to sharing the benefits of our progress and achievements to our people on the other side of occupation line,” he added.

The Georgian Foreign Minister is visiting Bratislava on December 4-6. Earlier on December 5, Zalkaliani, together with his counterparts from the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries met with Josep Borrell Fontelles, the new High Representative and Vice President of the European Union.

On the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Davit Zalklaiani held separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Lithuania and Poland, Linas Linkevičius and Jacek Czaputowicz, respectively, as well.

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