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Panjikdize asks OSCE to increase diplomatic pressure on Russia

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, December 9
The 20th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council was held in Kyiv December 5-6. The council welcomed delegates from 57 participating states.

According to the OSCE, the sitting was opened “with a call for greater efforts towards creating a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community with no dividing lines, respect for the rule of law and basic freedoms, and unity of purpose.”

The Georgian delegation to the council was led by the Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze. She had a number of meeting with OSCE officials and also addressed the council. Panjikidze met with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Astrid Thors; Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Janusz Lenarcic, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Leonid Kozhara. She also conducted bilateral meetings with the heads of the delegations from Serbia, Finland, Norway, Malta, Ireland, Israel and the Ukraine.

In Kiev, Panjikidze discussed the situation in the separatist regions of Georgia and the Russian activities of arranging borders and metal fences along the occupation line. She also raised the issue of the return of a full OSCE mission to Georgia, which was suspended in 2008 due Russia blocking it.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that “in her address to the council, the Georgian Foreign Minister focused upon the importance of the international community's support regarding the difficult situation in terms of security and human rights in Georgia's occupied territories.”

In her speech, Panjikidze directed the delegates’ attention to the importance of the OSCE missions in the process of peacefully resolving the Georgian-Russian conflict and “the need to strengthen the OSCE's role, including during the process of peacefully resolving the Georgian-Russian conflict.” She also called on Moscow to fulfill the provisions of the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and also to comply with its commitments under international law. The foreign minister also expressed her hope that the OSCE will increase the diplomatic pressure to persuade Russia to reciprocate Georgia’s unilateral non-use of force pledge.

Panjikidze said that despite the constructive initiatives the Georgia government has taken with the aim to normalize relations between the two countries, Russia still continues its illegal activities in the break-away regions of Georgia.

“Unfortunately, against the background of the restored economic and cultural relations, Russia has further intensified its illegal activities. As we speak, Moscow continues to install barbed wire fences and other obstacles along the occupation line in the Tskhinvali and Abkhazia regions of Georgia, dividing peoples' families and communities,” the Foreign Minister stated, and asked for the international community’s support to prevent further provocations and destabilizing measures.” Panjikidze confirmed that Georgia will seek conflict resolution exclusively through peaceful measures.

The Russian factor remains strong in the OSCE work. The organization was unable to achieve a number of decisions due to Russia’s position on the council. The Ministerial Council's political declaration has not been adopted because of Russia's refusal to accept the statement contained in the declaration that the conflicts exist within the OSCE region, neither an agreement on the adoption of the OSCE statement on the conflict in Georgia could be reached.