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Moscow slams UNGA resolution

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, September 10
The Russian Foreign Ministry criticised the resolution “On the Status of the Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia” passed at the UN General Assembly plenary session on September 7. The statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website calls the resolution a “counterproductive” document. “The fact that little more than ? of the UN member states supported the resolution puts in doubt the Georgian thesis about the alleged universal support towards the Tbilisi initiative,” the statement reads. The Georgia-submitted document was adopted with 50 votes for, 17 votes against and 86 abstentions at the UNGA plenary session.

The document has “nothing to do” with caring about the conditions of the IDPs and the refugees or with the “high humanitarian aims” declared by the authors of the document, the Russian MFA stated. “It [the resolution] does not help to regulate the problems, the solving of which it allegedly aimed to do,” the statement reads. Moscow slammed the document for being “out of context with the realities” in the region. “The reality is that now there are two independent states in the region – Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the Georgian administration or their foreign protectors will have to acknowledge this,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Official Moscow also expressed its discontent with the fact that the document refers to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry criticised Tbilisi for its “attempts to inflate the humanitarian situation, while not caring about the fates of thousands of Georgians, Abkhazians and Ossetians, or people of other nationalities, damaged during its [Tbilisi’s] aggressive policy.” “Against the background of the persistent refusal of Georgia to sign a document on non-use of force with the Abkhazian and the South Ossetian sides, Georgia’s call to all participants of the Geneva talks to ‘activate efforts on establishing peace and to agree on more effective measures of strengthening trust’ sounds like a command,” the statement reads.

The adoption of the resolution by the UNGA only “further complicates” the situation in the region and “could hit” the Geneva talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested. “In this context, the attempts of Tbilisi to involve the UN General Assembly in this process will only cause distraction from specific practical work and will not help to establish trust between the Abkhazian, the South Ossetian and the Georgian sides, which is a crucial precondition for solving the problems, including the problems of the refugees,” the Ministry said.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry downplayed Moscow's claims. Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze thought that the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement about the UNGA resolution was rather weak and stated, “It means that Russian diplomacy has once again suffered a defeat. Our aim is to maintain the legislative status of the occupied territories and to achieve the return of our people to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. In this light it is very important that the international community reiterated its position on need of defending the property rights of Georgian IDPs.”

“As long as officials in Moscow have nothing to say they have started insulting their opponents,” Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, Alexandre Nalbandov said. “The UNGA resolution is a very important document, which says that the right of the IDPs from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region to return safely to their homes is unquestionable. It is of no surprise that Moscow had such a reaction to this document,” he noted.

Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Davit Bakradze also commented about Moscow’s reaction to the UNGA resolution. “This resolution is an obvious defeat for Russian diplomacy. So, no matter how the Russian Foreign Ministry assesses the document, it is the interested party in this case,” he said “It is a great pity that Moscow is against the document which is of a humanitarian character and which envisages the return of completely innocent people to their homes,” Bakradze added.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic Embassy in Georgia issued a statement explaining the republic’s decision to vote for the resolution at the UNGA. “The Czech Republic is strongly committed to the principle of International Humanitarian Law. We are well aware of the importance of the Geneva talks and sincerely hope for their success,” the statement released on September 9 reads “We reiterate, in the context of this humanitarian crisis that needs to be resolved, our strong support to the security and stability of Georgia, respecting fully its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Political analysts in Georgia suggest that the newly adopted resolution will bring “neither positive, nor negative” results. “I don’t think that any negative consequences will follow the adoption of the document, because no positive results will follow it,” independent analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze told The Messenger. “The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement indicates that Moscow is not going to fulfill the demands of the resolution. Now the Russian government is simply searching for reasons to justify its non-compliance of the points envisaged by the document,” he noted.