OSCE Group of Friends of Georgia Express ‘Deep Concern’ over the Buildup of Russian Aggression

the OSCE Group of Friends of Georgia has released a joint statement regarding the Georgia-Russia conflict to express their 'firm support' for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to denounce Russia's continued aggression as the neglect of core democratic principles, and once again demand the release of an acclaimed Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili, who has been held in illegal detention in the Tskhinvali region for about a month now.

The statement, which was presented during the OSCE Ministerial Council in Bratislava, was delivered on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

The statement reiterates ‘deep concern’ over the increase of Russian military exercises and its further military build-up in  Georgia’s conflict-affected areas.

“We are concerned by the intensified provocations by Russia and the regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, including the attempted expansion of the occupied area and the building of ‘posts’ by the so-called security forces of South Ossetia region close to Chorchana village on territory controlled by the Georgian Government”, reads the statement.

The joint standpoint of the countries also includes the concern over the installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers along the occupation line in the villages of Atotsi and Gugutiantkari, as well as the lengthy closures of so-called crossing points in Georgia’s South Ossetia region. The illegal detention of the well-known doctor who merely held on to his Hippocratic Oath is seen as one of many deplorable illustrations of Russia’s continued refusal to agree to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“These actions have destabilized the situation on the ground and severely impacted the security, safety, well-being, and humanitarian conditions of people in conflict-affected areas. The recent death of Margo Martiashvili from Akhalgori district, who was deprived of the possibility to get prompt and adequate medical care, due to the closure of the so-called crossing points, is another tragic illustration of grave consequences of the continuing restrictions on the freedom of movement for the local population. We are gravely concerned by the detention of Georgian Dr Vazha Gaprindashvili in the region of South Ossetia and call for his immediate release”, reads the statement.

By Elene Dzebisashvili

06 December 2019 14:33