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Russia’s 'creeping occupation' continues

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, September 26
The border fence construction in the village of Dvani, in the Kareli region is still underway. The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, said during his visit to the IDP settlements in Berbuki and Shavshvebi on September 25, that “it is a tragedy that the international community is isolated from Ossetia right now.”

“It is a tragedy that farmers here and the women I spoke to are not able to visit their villages, and their cemeteries in Ossetia. This does not have to lead to a crisis however. The international community will continue to support Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. There's a renewed focus on the Geneva talks to come up with reasonable solutions. In the modern world we should not be building barriers. We should be taking down barriers. And I think everybody hopes there will be a reasonable solution to this situation,” stressed Norland.

Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, said during his meeting with the Georgians living in New York that “Russia will have to withdraw its troops from the Caucasus.” Emphasizing the aggressive policy of Russia, he said it is unavoidable that Russian troops will leave the region in the coming years.

"Russia has conquered many countries in the 20th century using internal sabotage, provocation, and all sorts of methods… During the last centuries we got a lot of experience to know what kind of power we are dealing with. Officially or unofficially, they will have to withdraw all troops from the Caucasus and will have to leave this region,” stated Saakashvili.

According to Justice Minister Tea Tsulukidze, Georgia does not need to be aggressive with “the northern neighbor.”

"We must stay as calm as possible regarding this creeping occupation," stated Tsulukiani.

State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues, Aleksi Petriashvili, said that all the resources we have are fully charged.

Government experts called for more international pressure for enforcement. The co-founder of Georgia’s Reform Association, Elene Khoshtaria, said the Georgian government lacks firmness in its position. “I think this is just an attempt to avoid problems,” stated Khoshtaria.

The head of the International Centre for Geopolitical Studies, Tengiz Pkhaladze, think that right now, when the highest political forum – the UN General Assembly session is underway in New York, the international response “to painful matters” for Georgia, would be important. “The future estimation of the government’s actions will be dependent on this,” stated Pkhaladze.