In a statement released on August 7 on the 12th anniversary of Russo-Georgian 2008 War, Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs called on Russia to comply with August 12 ceasefire agreement and “pull its forces out of Georgia.”
The statement highlighted that instead of fulfilling ceasefire deal requirements, “Russia has gradually expanded and consolidated its military presence in both these regions [Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia], has recognized both of them as independent states, and has signed treaties that integrate them more closely into Russia’s governance structures.”
“Norway fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is up to the Georgian people and their elected leaders to chart their own foreign policy course,” stated Noway’s top diplomat, adding that “so-called ‘spheres of influence’ have no place in the 21st century.”
The statement also stressed that dividing lines across the Russian-occupied regions are “steadily expanding further into Georgian-controlled territory and becoming more consolidated, with wide-ranging ramifications for the area’s civilian population.”
It added that this process has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, “often accompanied by attempts to circulate conspiracy theories that are undermining efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.”
Minister Eriksen Søreide said, “international humanitarian actors and human rights institutions must be given unimpeded access to the two regions.”
Hailing Georgia as an “important and valued partner,” the Foreign Minister said Norway will continue to support Georgia’s reform efforts and integration into European and Euro-Atlantic cooperation.”
It is in the interests of Norway and Europe as a whole to promote a stable, democratic and prosperous Georgia,” concluded Minister Eriksen Søreide.