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Condemning Russia’s actions in Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 21
“The EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee condemns the ongoing occupation and steps towards annexation of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation in contradiction with its international commitments to uphold the international legal order,” says the statement released by the Committee.

“The Committee calls on the Russian Federation to fulfill its obligations under the EU mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement to withdraw all its military forces and end the occupation of Georgian territories,” the Committee (which is composed of Georgian and European Parliament lawmakers) stated.

The lawmakers strongly condemned all steps of Russia resulting in the further deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation on the ground, intense militarization in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, including the installation of razor and barbed wire fences and the construction of various other fortifications along the occupation line.

The statement condemned restrictions of freedom of movement, illegal detentions and kidnappings, as well as severe human rights violations of residents of the occupied territories, in particular of Georgians in the Gali district of Abkhazia, who as a result stand out as the most vulnerable and increasingly discriminated on an ethnic basis.

The Committee underlined the need for the establishment of international security and human rights mechanisms on the ground, as well as the unimpeded access of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to Georgia’s occupied territories.

The Committee welcomed the strong commitment of the EU to remain effectively engaged in the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict through its “valuable instruments”, including the co-chairmanship of the Geneva International Discussions, the EUMM as well as its policy of non-recognition and engagement.

The Committee meeting also concerned ongoing constitutional reforms in Georgia.

“We want the recommendations of the Venice Commission to be reflected in the constitution,” the co-chair of the EU-Georgia Association Parliamentary Committee,” MEP Sajjad Karim said at a briefing.

In response to a question about the constitutional reform in Georgia, he noted that "they feel solid grounds and so far there is enough evidence to think that changes are being made in the right direction and the final document will be acceptable".

"The Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia was very actively involved in the working process together with the European Parliament. Throughout the period of drafting the constitutional amendments, the dialogue gives us the basis to think that the reform program is in compliance with not only the vision of the Parliament of Georgia but of the people and the civil society. In addition, we were persuaded by him that all the recommendations of the Venice Commission will be reflected in the constitution,” said Sajjad Karim.

The President of Georgia, NGOs and the opposition, however, state that some points in the constitutional draft are unacceptable and must be changed.

They especially highlight the need to move to proportional elections from 2020 and not from 2024, the direct election of president, and lower election thresholds.

They stress that the Venice Commission will disapprove of several sections of the draft.

The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe will release its recommendations until September 26, the Georgian Dream majority said.

The fifth meeting of the Parliamentary Association Committee concluded on September 20.