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Georgian FM at OSCE Session: Russia Severely Violates Human Rights in Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 10
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani addressed the 25th session of the OSCE Ministerial Council on Thursday by saying that Russia severely violates fundamental human rights in Georgia and makes the situation tense in the region.

“Installation of artificial barriers and barbed wire fences further aggravated the humanitarian conditions of the conflict-affected population. We are deeply concerned over the systematic violation of the fundamental human rights including the ethnic discrimination against Georgians in both occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

“Moreover, hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees, victims of continued ethnic cleansing remain to be deprived of the right to return to their homes in safety and dignity. The tragic case of Georgian IDP, Archil Tatunashvili who was illegally detained, tortured and killed by the occupation power in the Tskhinvali region last march as well as brutal murder of Georgian IDPs Giga Otkhozoria and David Basharuli are a clear reminder of an alarming humanitarian situation in both Georgian regions where no international monitoring mechanisms are allowed,” Zalkaliani said.

Zalkaliani stated that the Government of Georgia has tried to provide the initiatives to help the reconciliation process.

“The new peace initiative of the Georgian government “A step to a future better” has been designed to improve the humanitarian and social-economic conditions of people residing in both occupied regions. The initiative clearly reconfirms our dedication to reconciliation and confidence building policy,” Zalkaliani told session participants.

The same day Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that “Russia seeks normal relations with Georgia.”

“We hope that during the presidency of the President-elect Salome Zurabishvili, we will continue to find ways to develop constructive cooperation, Lavrov said.

He stated on the sidelines of the session that Moscow and Tbilisi have recently made a number of steps to normalize the relations.

Russia occupies two Georgian regions-Abkhazia and Tskhinvali continues creeping occupation on the Georgian territory.

Russia and Georgia have no diplomatic relations since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.