Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani addressed the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on January 30, in his capacity as the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE).
According to Georgian Foreign Ministry, FM Zalkaliani spoke of the priorities of Georgia’s six-month presidency. “The cooperation of the OSCE and the CoE [is] based on common values of democracy, human rights, rule of law. Human dimension is solid link between the activities of the two organizations,” Georgian Foreign Minister tweeted.
On behalf of the CoE Committee of Ministers, Zalkaliani also expressed his support to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, and stressed that Russia should fulfil its obligations.
Welcoming FM Zalkaliani to the Permanent Council as the Chair of the CoE Committee of Ministers, the U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE, James S. Gilmore III said that “Georgia’s leadership of an important European organization further demonstrates your country’s contributions to the international community.”
According to Ambassador Gilmore, “despite significant external threats to its security,” Georgia has transitioned from being a “security consumer” to a “security defender.” “Today, Georgia is a staunch contributor to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. We appreciate Georgia’s sacrifices and efforts to the security of Afghanistan,” the U.S. Ambassador stated.
He then noted that “regrettably, through aggressive behavior toward other states and repressive actions against its own people, Russia continues to undermine international security. Russia fuels the conflict in eastern Ukraine, occupying Crimea under the guise of a purported annexation.”
“Russia must withdraw forces, equipment, and support from Ukraine’s Donbas region. Russia also occupies over twenty percent of Georgian territory. We call on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement with Georgia, including by withdrawing Russian forces to their pre-hostility positions and allowing unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations,” Gilmore said.
In his remarks, the U.S. Ambassador said his country “supports Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and remains a strong advocate for Georgia’s contributions to the international community and rules-based order.”