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Russia annexes Georgian lands

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, February 23
“The Russian Federation continues its policy which is aimed at the annexation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) through illegal agreements on integration signed with the de-facto authorities of the regions,” the Georgian Foreign Minister Giorgi Janelidze stated at the United Nations Security Council meeting on February 21.

Janelidze stated that a conflict that started in the early 90s reached its culmination in 2008, during the Russian military intervention in Georgia and occupation of its territories, adding “the international community failed in effectively responding to the early warning signs”.

“We all have seen aggression first in Georgia and then Ukraine, and it possibly can happen elsewhere if no action is taken today,” he said.

Georgian Foreign Minister underlined that the United Nations was created to put an end to wars and serve as an international instrument to prevent conflicts, maintain peace and security worldwide.

“However, one could hardly point out a region free from security threats and confrontations…it is particularly alarming when security architecture is deliberately undermined by the permanent member of the Security Council, who precisely is to stand guard over international principles,” the minister said, referring to Russia.

He underlined that since 2012, the Government of Georgia has been seeking the de-escalation of relations with the Russian Federation, by making constructive and practical steps.

“We have established dialogue on issues related to trade, transport, people-to-people relations, aimed at de-escalation tensions, which has provided some positive outcomes. We work constructively in the format of the Geneva International Discussions, and are open for constructive negotiations,” Janelidze stressed.

Moreover, the minister condemned the decision by the occupying regime to conduct a so-called referendum in the Tskhinvali region to rename the region “The Republic of South Ossetia - State of Alania”, similar to one of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

In parallel, Janelidze noted that the occupation regime of Abkhazia region made a decision to close the checkpoints on the occupation line, further impeding the free movement of the local population.

“We call on the international community to condemn and counter these acts. We also call upon the Russian Federation to reverse its illegal policy, comply with its international obligations - including the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement - and grant access to the international monitoring mechanisms and allow the return of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees, who have been forcefully evicted from their homes,” he stressed.

Janelidze believes that conflict resolution between Georgia and Russia must start with the withdrawal of Russian occupation forces from Georgia’s occupied regions.

“Georgia stands ready to settle the conflict with the Russian Federation by exclusively peaceful means, in accordance with relevant international agreements and with full respect for the fundamental principles of international law,” Georgia’s Foreign Minister said.