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OSCE calls on Russia to meet ceasefire agreement commitments

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, February 11
The OSCE has reiterated its call towards Russia to meet its commitments envisaged by the August 12 2008 ceasefire agreement. The call was voiced at the OSCE security cooperation forum held in Vienna on February 9, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported. The participants of the forum called on Russia to let international monitoring mechanisms on Georgia’s occupied territories, the Ministry said in its statement. “The representatives of the US, EU and Canada talked about the inviolability of Georgian territorial integrity and the illegal activities of the Russian federation. In particular, it was noted that such actions of the Russian Federation endangers the stability in the whole region,” the Georgian Ministry said.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze gave a speech at the forum and informed the representatives of the partner states about the situation in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and about the activities of the Russian forces on the occupied territories of Georgia. The Foreign Ministry reported that Vashakidze emphasized the increase of Russian military buildup in two regions of Georgia and the deployment of assault arms in the conflict zone. “The First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia stressed the fact of Russia carrying out ‘effective control’ on Georgia’s occupied regions, the proof of which is the appointment of Russian military and security officers in the structures of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali puppet regimes,” the statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s official website reads.

The Ministry has stressed it its statement that for maintaining a relative stability and security on the occupied territories of Georgia it is necessary to constantly keep informing the international society about the “militarization” taking place in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. “In this context, the Georgian Foreign Ministry expresses its confidence that the speech made in Vienna was relevant and effective,” the statement says.

Lithuania, which holds OSCE chairmanship since January 2011, has stated that the “advancement of the solution to protracted conflicts in Transnistria and the South Caucasus, as well as the situation in Georgia” will be its priority during the Chairmanship period. Lithuanian Foreign Minister, the new Chairperson-in-office of the OSCE Audronius Azubalis made the statement on January 1st. Azubalis stressed the importance of regional cooperation, naming it as a “vital” tool for building “long-term stability in the volatile regions.” “OSCE has an important role to play, in particular through the promotion of understanding and tolerance between the societies which are part of the conflicts, and we would like to see a more active OSCE role here,” he said.

Officials in Tbilisi hailed the statements of the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, saying that Lithuania has been Georgia’s “long-term ally” and the first state in Europe to take a “firm stand” on a non-recognition policy of Georgia’s breakaway regions. However, Georgian politicians have pointed out that Tbilisi should not be expecting a breakthrough in terms of the possible restoring of the OSCE mission in Georgia, vetoed by Russia following the 2008 August war. “The decision on this issue is being made through the consensus of the OSCE member states, so we should not expect any breakthrough in this direction.” Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Georgian Parliament, MP Giorgi Kandelaki told The Messenger.