David McAllister, Foreign Affairs Committee Chair at the European Parliament, Marina Kaljurand, chair of the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus and Sven Mikser, rapporteur on Georgia released a joint statement on August 7, marking “the 12th anniversary of the Russian aggression against Georgia.”
The MEPs noted that the effects of Russian aggression against Georgia are still being felt, with one-fifth of Georgia remaining under Russin occupation and hundreds of thousands still being unable to return to their homes.
“Georgia continues to be the target of various Russian hybrid activities, such as disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks,” the European lawmakers added.
Nevertheless, the MEPs continued, “this shocking event only strengthened Georgia’s resolve to pursue Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia has firmly established itself as a reliable ally and a key partner in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood.”
Focusing on tangible benefits and opportunities Georgians received through the EU Association Agreement and visa-free travel, the MEPs said: “Unfortunately, the inhabitants of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia cannot benefit from the socio-economic development enjoyed by the rest of the country as both regions continue to suffer from the dire consequences of Russian occupation.”
The lawmakers reiterated their “firm support” for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
In this context, MEPs stressed the need of the full implementation of the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, the continuation of the Geneva International Discussions, and underscored the importance of efforts by the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia.
“As the country exercising de facto control over Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia, the Russian Federation must meet its international obligations and grant the EUMM unhindered access to the occupied regions, revert the rampant “borderization” process, put an end to the systematic violations of human rights observed in these regions,” stated the MEPs.
They added that Russia “must also ensure the safe and dignified return of the internally-displaced persons to their native lands and see that the perpetrators of crimes committed on grounds of ethnicity are brought to justice.”