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Friends of Georgia Group in OSCE Condemns Russian Actions in Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 8
Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK, the US made a joint statement on Tuesday, condemning Russia’s actions in Georgia on the 10th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war.

“Ten years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia, we remain deeply concerned over the continued occupation of Georgian territories and underline the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, based on full respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the fundamental norms and principles of international law,” the statement says.

The Group of Friends urges Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

“In the ten years since the August 2008 war, Georgia has made progress in strengthening democracy and good governance, as well as in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and economic development. It is disappointing that these benefits cannot be enjoyed by the residents of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We believe a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict would have a transformative effect not only on Georgia but the region as a whole.”

The Group of Friends of Georgia says they support the Geneva International Discussions as an essential format to address the security, human rights, and humanitarian challenges stemming from the unresolved conflict.

“We call upon the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, inter alia to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories of Georgia.

We support the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Gali and Ergneti and encourage the participants to find proper solutions for the safety and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population,” the statement reads.

The Georgian friends welcomed Georgia’s compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its unilateral commitment not to use force, and call on Russia to reciprocate, to affirm and commit not to use force against Georgia.

“We support the new peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, ‘A Step to a Better Future,’ aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities to the benefit of all people.

“We encourage the OSCE’s engagement in the process of finding a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Georgia conflict and support the implementation of confidence-building measures with an aim to rebuild trust and improve the living conditions of the conflict-affected communities, the statement reads.

Since the Russia-Georgia war only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria recognized Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali as independent states.