2008 War Anniversary: UN Security Council Members Reiterate Support for Georgia

In a joint statement marking 13 years since the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008, current and incoming United Nations Security Council Members reaffirmed “unwavering support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

Six UNSC members – Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as incoming member Albania, expressed regrets over continued violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia by Russia. The group condemned “Russia’s illegal military presence and exercising of control over Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, integral parts of Georgia, and its steps toward annexation of these Georgian regions,” the actions they said are “in clear violation of international law.”

The statement also condemned Russia’s continuous provocations, including “reinforced military presence and military exercises on Georgia’s territory, intensified borderization process, arbitrary detentions, kidnappings of members of the local population, restriction of freedom of movement and lengthy closures of the Administrative-Boundary Lines (ABL), discrimination against ethnic Georgians in Gali and Akhalgori districts, and prohibition on education in residents’ native language.”

The seven countries called for the immediate release of “unjustly” detained Georgian citizens, including Irakli Bebua who is currently jailed in Abkhazia.

The countries said they “remain deeply worried that in the past several years no international human rights monitoring mechanism has been granted unrestricted access” to these regions, thus calling “for immediate unhindered access to be granted to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and other international and regional human rights mechanisms.”

Recalling “the urgent need for unimpeded humanitarian access to all civilians in need,” the joint statement called for creating the conditions for a safe, voluntary, dignified and unhindered return of internally displaced people and refugees.”

The group called on Russia “to fully implement its obligation and commitments under the Agreements of 12 August and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008 and withdraw its military and security forces without delay and reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s territories Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and not to impede the creation of an international security mechanism.”

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