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OSCE intends to create special group for Georgian issues

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 25
OSCE will create a special group that will regularly discuss issues regarding Georgia; this will apparently become a significant process on the organization's agenda.

The statement came after Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli’s meeting with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannieri in Austria.

“It was a very positive and fruitful meeting. We have discussed Georgia-OSCE cooperation issues and projects together with Georgia’s Defence Ministry. The projects will continue in the future,” the OSCE official said.

"Mr. Zannier is a long-time friend of Georgia. He frequently visits Georgia and does his best to make the OSCE as efficient as possible in our country, especially since Russia blocked OSCE missions to Abkhazia and South Ossetia ,” Khidasheli responded.

Within her visit to Austria, Khidasheli gave a speech at the extraordinary plenary session of the OSCE Security Cooperation after the meeting with the OSCE Secretary General.

The Minister talked about regional security challenges and the necessity for the modernization of European security architecture. She drew attention to Russian violations of international commitments and its continued occupation of Georgian territories. In her speech, she spoke about the importance of cooperation with the OSCE and the support of the international community.

The Defence Minister said that such meetings contribute to the exchange of opinions and discussions about ongoing security challenges.

“It is very important when we have the opportunity to participate in such forums. Representatives of all the member countries of the OSCE attended the session. We’ve heard very positive statements from the EU and its member countries. Other non-EU countries, particularly our neighbors – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey – also made positive statements,” – stated Khidasheli.

At the extraordinary plenary session, the Defence Minister responded to a speech by Russia’s ambassador and noted that practically nobody supported the Russian representative.

“The speech of the Russian ambassador was not unexpected. It is a usual practice and part of the same scenario. It’s just important that when you are alone in the hall you have to think about what direction your country is developing in and listen to the verdicts of the rest of the civilized world. This is the reason why it is so important to have and attend these types of forums. When you ask 'What occupation?' you need to expect to hear an answer that there will be an answer, and you will find yourself isolated. Of course, arguing in this way and showing Russia's denials to be ridiculous are not a solution. It is not a method of conflict resolution, nor does it automatically assure the territorial integrity of our country, but the international support that Georgia has is the only guarantee that our country will have a better future,” said Tinatin Khidasheli.

The Russian ambassador flatly denied that his country occupied any lands.