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Lithuanian FM speaks about ‘another message of support’ for Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, May 17
Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevicius has stated that addressing the occupied territories of Georgia as integral parts of the country at the Council of Europe (CoE) ministerial, is another message of clear support.

Linkevicius’s statement came on Thursday, during the CoE ministerial in Finland.

The forum discussed several documents, including the one titled 'The Council of Europe and the conflicts in Georgia.'

The document confirms the strong support of the EU member states to the territorial integrity of Georgia, condemns the Russian aggression and calls on the occupant country to fulfill international obligations and withdraw its forces from the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

Linkevicius said that the CoE is operating within its mandate and added that the concrete steps are not expected. He highlighted the fact that the document speaks about and welcomes the Georgian government’s peace initiative 'A Step to Better Future,' condemns the situation in the occupied territories, expresses concern and criticism about the unacceptable situation concerning the crossing of the so-called borders [for what Georgian citizens are unlawfully detained by occupying forces].

“When the document adopted by the Council of Europe speaks about the occupied regions, this is another message of support to Georgia’s territorial integrity. Now all the international organizations must work to analyze why the situation is not changing in the occupied territories. Despite the many attempts of the international community, we do not have any improvement, so this issue should be constantly on our agenda," Linkevicius noted.

The Government of Georgia proposed legislative changes-The Step To Better Future- for improving the humanitarian, social and economic conditions of the populations in Georgia’s Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) last year.

The initiative aims to improve cooperation across the occupation line.

The occupying forces in the two Russia-controlled Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) have detained 327 Georgian citizens for 'illegally crossing the border' between 2017 and 2019, the Georgian State Security Service says.

Most of the individuals were released after paying a fine.

Only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria have recognised the regions as independent states since the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, with the influence of Russia.

The rest of the international community says that Russia is occupying the regions.