Foreign minister: Abkhazia and South Ossetia integral parts of Georgia
Tomorrow Wednesday ten years will have passed since the Russian invasion of Georgia and the subsequent occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the five-day war between the two countries. Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser in a statement on Tuesday sharply condemned Russian actions and behaviour then and since.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) is currently out of office and won't participate in events planned for Wednesday in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
Instead, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Tuesday in which Mikser once again condemns Russia's actions in 2008 as well as its behaviour since.
As Mikser writes, Russia "gravely violated" international law with its unwarranted aggression against Georgia. Russia invaded Georgia in a five-day war in April 2008 under the pretext of protecting the right to sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two separatist regions that have been a cause for conflict between the two countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
The minister stresses that the two areas are integral parts of Georgia, and that current efforts to separate them culturally and politically are "unacceptable". Meanwhile, Mikser commended the Georgian side for its commitment to seeking a dialogue with the other side.
Minister Mikser's statement in full:
Tomorrow marks ten years since the beginning of Russia's aggression against Georgia, with which Russia gravely violated international law and undermined regional security and stability. Russia's gross violation of international law in Georgia continues to this day. It is deeply concerning that in ten years a solution to the conflict has not been reached and Russia persists in its illegal occupation of the territories of Georgia. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are integral parts of Georgia, whose sovereignty and territorial integrity must be fully respected. Ongoing military build-up in the occupied territories, borderisation, restrictions on freedom of movement and the right to education are unacceptable and seriously damage any efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
We welcome the Georgian Government's commitment to seeking dialogue. The peace initiative by the Georgian Government "A Step to a Better Future" looks for opportunities to improve the living standards of people on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line. This type of inclusive approach is also supported by the European Union.
On this anniversary, we remind Russia of its obligation to abide by the Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008 which stipulates the withdrawal of troops and the establishment of an international peacekeeping force. As long as the de facto authorities continue to ignore calls to grant international organisations unhindered access to the occupied territories, we have to uphold the European Monitoring Mission in Georgia, the only international monitoring mission on the ground. It is equally important that the Geneva International Discussions continue as a place for dialogue, where a peaceful solution should be sought in good faith and a constructive manner.
Editor: Dario Cavegn