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Merkel Says Breakaway Abkhazia and S. Ossetia Are Occupied

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 27
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel admitted that Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied. She made the statement in response to a Georgian student Konstantine Shubitidze, who asked Merkel why she avoided using the word “occupation” when speaking about Georgia’s Russian-annexed territories.

Merkel was meeting the students of the Ivane Javakhishvili State University in Tbilisi when she was asked the question.

“Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied territories… 20% of your country’s territories are occupied,” she said, adding that breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia are integral parts of Georgia.

Later on, Merkel joined a patrol of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) along the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia.

The Head of the EUMM, Mr. Erik Høeg, welcomed the delegation and provided an overview of EUMM mandate and activities. During the patrol, the Chancellor also received a briefing about the security situation in the specific area, delivered by the EUMM monitors from the Mission Field Office in Mtskheta.

The Chancellor and her delegation were shown key features of ‘borderization’ – including physical barriers put in place along the Administrative Boundary Line and given examples of the negative consequences for local communities, particularly freedom of movement and livelihoods.

Chancellor Merkel met with a number of German nationals who are presently working in the Mission and to get acquainted with their daily tasks.

Merkel arrived in Georgia on August 23 and left on August 24. She met with the President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze.

The PM also gave an official dinner in honor of Angela Merkel, where she was gifted a 17th-century painting by Baroque-era Italian artist Pierfrancesco Cittadini (1616-1681), which will be returning to Germany, more than 70 years after it disappeared from a museum in Dresden.

The oil painting, titled Still Life with a Rabbit, was presented to the German politician by Bakhtadze after the Georgian government obtained the work.

Bakhtadze assessed the visit of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany as historical and noted that genuinely meaningful negotiations were held within the scope of the visit. Among the topics discussed were the bilateral relations, integration of Georgia to the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).