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President, PM condemn Russia’s actions in Georgian occupied regions

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 13
President Giorgi Margvelashvili stated that Georgia has been facing serious challenges from the very beginning of its independence, and these challenges are coming from its northern neighbor, the Russian Federation.

He made the statement at the South-Eastern Europe Defense Ministerial (SEDM) held in Georgia’s Black Sea Coastal city of Batumi for the first time on October 12.

The President believes that Russia, as a member of the UN Security Council, should not carry out such actions. He added that from the very beginning of the 1990s, Russia has been punishing Georgia for its aspirations to become an independent and Europe-oriented country, with conflicts and confrontations that led to the loss of territorial integrity of the country.

“We should not respond to the provocations, seen to be one of the mechanisms of Russia's politics. In parallel, we should increase and deepen democratic processes in the country to promote the country's integration processes,” Margvelashvili stated, adding that Georgia should definitely strengthen its armed forces and self-defense.

Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, also addressed the participants of the ministerial. According to him, the territories of Georgia are occupied by Russia and its aggressive policy continues, which is reflected in the absorption of occupied territories in the Russian military, political, economic and social spheres.

“This is being done through the so-called integration agreements, illegal referendums or various programs; continuous militarization, maximum isolation of the occupied territories, closure of checkpoints, construction of barbed wires and trenches in the territory of Georgia; ethnic discrimination and cleansing, prohibition of education in the native language," stressed Kvirikashvili.

He added that despite these provocative actions, Georgia remains in full compliance with the 2008 ceasefire agreement and is taking diplomatic steps in order to make the Russian Federation fulfill its obligations in accordance with the principles and norms of international law - de-occupation, provision of international security mechanisms and the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The PM thanked every friendly state for standing by Georgia in the process of protecting sovereignty and rebuilding.

“The active support from our friends and partners is crucial for us, as we can provide peace and security only through our joint efforts, not only in our country but also in the whole region,” he said.

Levan Izoria, Georgia’s defense Minister, also delivered a speech at the event, saying Georgia has correctly understood the threats facing the world and the region, adequately reacted to them, and with the international partners, in participation with the Restraint Policy adopted at the Wales and Warsaw Summits.

SEDM Ministerial was established in 1996 during the meeting of regional ministers in Tirana, Albania, under the initiative of the United States. Georgia became an SEDM member country on September 10, 2015.