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7 more votes at UN General Assembly session for Georgia-initiated resolution

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, July 1
UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution on the right of return of all IDPs from Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to their homes. 57 UN member states voted for with 13 states against and 74 abstentions for a Georgia-initiated document, which has already been passed three times at the UN General Assembly in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Compared to the last year’s voting the document received 7 more votes for on Wednesday’s voting.

The resolution reiterates the right of all IDPs and their offspring, despite their ethnicity to return to their homes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. UN General Assembly has said that there is a need to make a schedule of IDPs’ voluntary, secure, honorable and unhindered return to their homes in Georgia’s breakaway regions. The resolution calls on the sides to respect the property rights of the IDPs and abstain from buying the legal property of the IDPs through violation of this right.

Armenia, Cuba, North Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Russia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Venezuela and Vietnam, Syria voted against the resolution. Seven additional UN member states, who voted for the adoption of the document, were Antigua and Barbuda, Congo, Costa Rica, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Vanuatu. The latter recognized Abkhazia as an independent state last month but later reversed its decision.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly 150th plenary session, Georgia’s UN Ambassador, Alexander Lomaia said the Georgian IDPs are not able to return to their homes due to “politically motivated obstructionism.” He said nearly a year has passed since the last adoption of the resolution, however there’s been “no progress.” “On the contrary, the situation has been deteriorating in two directions – the security in the region has been worsening and the property rights of the IDPs have been violated even more,” the Ambassador said.

The Russian side assessed the resolution as a “politicized” document. “Georgia is using same maneuver every year to attract the attention of the international society,” Russia’s UN Deputy Ambassador, Alexander Pankin said at the session. He said Abkhazia and South Ossetia are now “independent states” and that Georgia, as well as its allies should “deal with it.”

Officials in Tbilisi meanwhile hailed the resolution, saying that the results of the voting turned out to be “more positive than expected.” Deputy Georgian Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze told journalists Russia once again tried to “politicize” the issue and had called on the international community to vote against the document. “We should admit that we made a lot of efforts in order to increase the number of our supporters,” the Deputy Minister noted “We will keep on putting this resolution on vote every year until all points of the resolution will be met,” she added.

Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council, Batu Kutelia assessed the adoption of the document by the UN with 57 votes as “important.” “In the development of a strategic policy consistency plays an important role. And this resolution is part of the consistent steps, it is clear that the de-occupation policy includes broader components, and all these steps create a precondition for de-occupation of our country,” Kutelia told reporters. Deputy Reintegration Minister, Irakli Porchkhidze stressed the importance of the issue staying on the UN agenda. “Also it is important that the number of supporters is increasing and the number of states voting against is decreasing. And it is even more important that the awareness of this issue is increasing on an international arena,” he noted.