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Georgia Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Syria

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, May 31
Official Tbilisi has decided to cut diplomatic relations with Syria, after the latter recognized Georgia’s Russian-occupied regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

“We are starting procedures for termination of diplomatic relations. It is unfortunate that the Assad regime has made such a decision under Russia’s manipulations, but this is not surprising from the Assad regime, which does not care for its own citizens,” Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Vice-Premier Mikheil Janelidze stated.

He said the decision of Damascus does not affect the non-recognition policy of Georgia’s occupied regions around the globe.

“The international community is well informed of the Assad regime, and they strongly support our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Relevant statements were made yesterday. We will continue to work in the direction of the non-recognition policy and maintenance of international support," Janelidze said, adding there is no threat the occupied territories of Georgia to be recognized by other countries.

Assad’s step was also denounced by the European Union and NATO.

Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations has released a statement, saying the decision of the Syrian regime to establish diplomatic relations with the Georgian breakaway regions violates international law and the principle of territorial integrity as defined by the United Nations Charter and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

“The European Union fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We remain committed to actively support conflict resolution efforts, including through the work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, and the EU Monitoring Mission,” the statement reads.

The NATO Liaison Office also released a statement, saying breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions are parts of Georgia.

“Syria's decision will not affect the broad international understanding that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are parts of Georgia. All NATO allies support Georgia's territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders. Despite the fact that NATO does not participate in the Geneva talks, we call on all parties to constructively engage and resolve the conflict peacefully within the internationally recognized territory of Georgia," The statement reads.

As for the United States, State Department’s Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing on May 29 that Syria’s step was not a complete surprise “because Bashar al-Assad is propped-up by the Russian regime.”

“The Russian-occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are integral parts of Georgia, and we continue to support Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” she added.

Syria’s action was also condemned by Foreign Minister of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius.

"Lithuania condemns in strongest terms cynical violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Kremlin controlled Assad regime. Full solidarity with Georgia. Those behind this yet another blatant violation of international law must face consequences," Linkevicius tweeted.

Syria is the fifth country which recognizes Georgia’s occupied regions as independent countries after Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.