Official Tbilisi Responds to Russia’s Comments over Occupied Territories

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has replied to the statement made by the Russian MFA’s Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, who said that the Georgian Government should “inform its people about the new border lines and the rules” with breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism of Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia-South Ossetia show that in the areas where there are fences and information stands, the number of unintended violations is reduced and the number of detentions are also decreased. Regrettably, the Georgian partners are still not ready to be involved in the joint work, which will actually reduce the tension in the border areas,” Zakharova stated on October 18.

Official Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Vladimer Konstantinidi, said that such statements are a “cynical attempt to provide justification for illegal detentions and kidnappings, ethnic discrimination, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and other flagrant violations of human rights committed against the conflict-affected population by so-called border guards of the Russian federal security service stationed across the occupation line.”

Konstantinidi added that statements like these represent yet another demonstration of the Russian Federation’s aggressive policy against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

His statement reads that Russian Federation has continued for many years to grossly violate the fundamental norms and principles of international law, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the European Convention of Human Rights by showing total disregard for basic human rights.

“The illegal occupation of Georgia’s inseparable regions by Russia and the installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers there further deteriorate the humanitarian situation of the communities on both sides of the occupation line. As a result, local residents remain deprived of the right to free movement throughout the territory of their own country and are barred from accessing their own agricultural lands,” Konstantinidi said.

"Russia’s provocative steps with respect to Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Regions make clear the need to create international security arrangements in the occupied territories and to give an access to human rights monitors," he added.

“The immediate cessation of Russia’s illegal activities in the occupied territories of Georgia, the compliance by Russia with its international commitments, including those under the Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008, and the full withdrawal of Russian armed forces from the Georgian territory are the only pre-condition for de-escalating the situation on the ground,” the Georgian MFA representative stated.

By Thea Morrison

19 October 2018 18:58