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Thursday, May 14
CoE Committee of Ministers Deputies’ Says So-called Treaties with Georgia’s Breakaway Regions are Illegal

The Committee of Ministers Deputies’ of the Council of Europe has held its 1227th meeting within the frames of the agenda item “the Council of Europe and the Conflict in Georgia.” The Committee discussed and adopted the relevant decision by a vote (only the Russian Federation voted against the decision).

The above-mentioned decision recalled the decision of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies of 29 April, 2014 reiterating unequivocal support of the Council of Europe member States for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.

As Georgia’s Foreign Ministry informs, the decision stated that the so called “treaties” between the Russian Federation and the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are detrimental to the ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in the region, clearly violate Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and have no legal validity; they contradict principles of international law and the Russian Federation’s international commitments, including under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008. It should be noted that for the first time such assessment of the so-called "treaties" has been given in the decision of an international organisation.

In the document the Committee of Ministers Deputies’ expressed serious concern at the continued installation of barbwire fences and other artificial obstacles by the Russian Federation violating, inter alia, human rights and fundamental freedoms including the right to free movement, right to property, the right to family life and the right to education in the native language of those residing within the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and in the adjacent areas.

“The decision underlined the importance of the Council of Europe monitoring bodies making further efforts to gain access to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and welcomed the intention of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe to visit by the end of the year the Georgian region of Abkhazia and administrative boundary line adjacent to the Georgian region of South Ossetia to monitor the human rights situation in the areas affected by the conflict.

In the decision the Committee of Ministers Deputies’ called on the Russian Federation to facilitate and grant unrestricted access to the Council of Europe bodies to the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia. It is noteworthy that for the first time the decision of the international organization calls on the Russian Federation to give unhindered access to the occupied territories to monitor the human rights situation on the ground,” – MFA says.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes the decision on the Conflict in Georgia adopted by the Committee of Ministers Deputies’ of the Council of Europe. (Frontnews)

Tusk will visit Georgia- Tbilisi and the European Council are to agree on the details of the visit

President of the European Council Donald Tusk will visit Georgia in the near future. Tbilisi officials and the European Council are to agree on the details of the visit soon. The President of Georgia held his last meeting with the president of the European Council, during which the main topic of discussion with Donald Tusk was the current situation in the occupied territories, the upcoming Riga summit and visa-free travel regime for the citizens of Georgia.

The President also met with King Philippe of Belgium. During the meeting, they discussed relations between the two countries.

King Philippe of Belgium was interested in the political situation in the region; the developments in Ukraine were also discussed.

The President has formally invited His Royal Highness, King Philippe of Belgium to Georgia. (Rustavi2)

Georgia-U.S. military exercises should not create false expectations - Kurt Walker

Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Walker has expressed his point of view on the Georgia-U.S. military exercises which are currently underway in Georgia under the aegis of NATO.

According to Walker, NATO’s cooperation with countries adjacent to Russia is of special significance, as the region is not only Russia’s but Europe’s neighborhood at the same time. But he puts an emphasis on the fact that the military exercises should not become the basis for Georgia to have false expectations.

“This does not mean that NATO will take responsibility for Georgia’s security. It builds relationships and allows Georgia to become closer to the security forces, so that one day Georgia may become a NATO member, which was also stressed at Bucharest summit in 2008. I would still like to say that NATO is not discussing this issue at present. Holding military exercises is good, but don’t think that NATO will take on the responsibility for defending Georgia,”- Walker says.

According to him, Russia continues its aggressive policy. At the same time, there is a controversy among the NATO members as some of them are considering interfering in the crisis.

"The situation is very serious. Putin saw how easily he had managed to occupy Crimea without any serious resistance from Ukraine itself, let alone EU, NATO and the U.S. He already thinks of other territories willing to join the Russian Federation. At this point, maybe we are witnessing a temporary stop to calm down the excitement in the West.

Russia is expected to continue the occupation of the territories – Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia as well. I am most worried about the fact that Russia may try to connect Crimea and Transnistria to each other.

In the short term, Georgia can do nothing to get its territories back. It is of utmost importance for Georgia to be united from within; the reconciliation efforts among the political parties are necessary and the country also has to express its desire for integration into the West," said Walker in an interview with Voice of America. (IPN)