On the 12th anniversary of the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008, the Group of Friends of Georgia to the OSCE Permanent Council, including Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States, released a statement decrying Russian occupation and provocations, Georgian Foreign Ministry reported.
The statement stressed the unacceptability of so-called “borderization” activities across the dividing line between the Tbilisi-controlled territory and the occupied regions, noting that it violates the human rights of local residents and restricts their freedom of movement.
The Group of Friends called on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the EU-brokered ceasefire agreement from August 12, 2008 and joined Georgian demands to allow access for international missions, in particular the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), to the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia.
The Group of Friends also expressed their support for Georgian peace initiatives aimed at confidence-building and reconciliation among people residing on both sides of the dividing line.
In his address during the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on September 3, U.S. Ambassador James S. Gilmore III expressed support for the joint statement by the Group of Friends of Georgia, condemning once again Russian activities in the occupied regions of Georgia and along the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL).
“Russia-led security forces continue to encroach deeper into Georgia, trying to expand the occupied territories meter by meter,” Ambassador Gilmore went on, “In the past year, we also witnessed a Russian-led attempt to control hundreds of meters of additional Georgian territory at Chorchana-Tsnelisi.”