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Georgian Foreign Ministry condemns Wilshire-Chochiev meeting

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, April 26
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has expressed its “strong protest” about the meeting between Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Monitoring Committee co-rapporteur David Wilshire and Boris Chochiev, the de facto South Ossetian Special Representative in Post Conflict Regulation Issues. This meeting took place in Moscow on April 20, at the so called "South Ossetian Embassy" in Moscow.

The Georgian Ministry issued a special statement on April 22, calling the meeting “deplorable” and accusing Wilshire of violating the principles of international law, “i.e. the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty”. His action “ignores the position of the Council of Europe and its member states, who have condemned the recognition by Russia of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and called on the Russian Federation to withdraw its illegal, unilateral recognition,” the statement reads. “Moreover, it attests that Mr. Wilshire has a predetermined, biased position towards the implementation of the Parliamentary Assembly's resolutions on the consequences of the Russia-Georgia war,” it continues.

The statement calls on the leadership of the Council of Europe and its member states to “condemn this action, as violating the principles and values of the Council of Europe and undermining the international standing of the Council of Europe.” According to RIA Novosti, Wilshire stressed the importance of holding dialogue between “Georgia and South Ossetia” in order to “avoid bloodshed in the future” at the meeting.

However the Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomed the “immediate reaction” of the Permanent Representative of the UK to the Council of Europe to the initial protest about this meeting expressed in person by Georgia’s Permanent Representative to the COE on April 21. The Ministry says the UK representative “confirmed the firm and strict stance of the United Kingdom regarding respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.”