Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Statement of Mr. T. Iakobashvili, the State Minister for Reintegration

The Parliament and Government of Georgia made most important decision with regard to the conflicts in the territory of my country, the military aggression of Russian Federation against Georgia, the attempt to depose democratically elected Government of my country, as well as partial occupation and ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories of Georgia.

Through its actions, the Russian Federation has destroyed all peace formats that were envisaged by documents passed at bilateral level and within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

In conformity with paragraph 1 of Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia ‘On Peace-Keeping Forces Deployed in the Territory of Georgia’ (N3483 of 18 July 2006), on 29 August 2008 the Government of Georgia passed Ordinance N552 aimed at commencing due procedures to promptly terminate so-called ‘peacekeeping operations’ carried out in Abkhazia and former South Ossetian autonomous province, and to immediately withdraw armed forces of the Russian Federation from the entire territory of Georgia.

Following the aforesaid decision and in accordance with paragraph 1 of the Decision by the CIS State Heads Council’s ‘On Presence of Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the Conflict Zone in Abkhazia, Georgia and Further Conflict Settlement Measures” of 7 August 2003, Georgia declared termination of the CIS peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia, Georgia (Note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia to the CIS Executive Council N7/244-10 of 01.09.2008).

Besides, in conformity with the decision under review, Georgia unilaterally declared termination of the Agreement ‘On Principles for Settlement of Georgian-Ossetian Conflict” of 24 June, 1992 and demanded an immediate withdrawal of the peacekeepers (Note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation N6/4141-10 of 01.09.2008).

These decisions of the Parliament and Government of Georgia are strongly motivated by the most recent events, namely, a full-scale military aggression and intervention carried out by the Russian Federation against Georgia and occupation of significant parts of the territory of my country and ethnic cleansing committed in the occupied territory of Georgia. First of all, this is about Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, but currently the Russian military forces are also occupying other areas of Georgia that are located beyond the conflict zones.

While the Georgian side remains committed to the 6-point ceasefire agreement brokered by President of France and signed by Presidents of Georgia and the Russian Federation, the Russian side continuously violates its contractual obligation under the agreement, in particular regarding to withdraw its military forces to the lines held prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Georgia. Distorting the essence of the above agreement and contradicting to explanations provided by the President of France, the Russian side keeps retaining illegal military presence both within the conflict zones and far beyond them.

Moreover, on 26 August 2008 President of Russia D. Medvedev, with the violation of the aforementioned agreement issued an order on the recognition of independence of the so-called "republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”. .

These actions of Russia are the result of the aggression policy against Georgia carried out by Russian Federation since 1992 through its client separatist regimes on the territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia.

By unilateral recognition of "independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, the Russian Federation violated fundamental principles and norms of international law, namely, the principles of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, non-interference in internal affairs of another state and respect for human rights and freedoms enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act (1975).

The actions of the Russian Federation also contradict the UN Security Council’s resolutions recognizing the territorial integrity of Georgia: 876 (1993), 881 (1993), 892 (1993), 896 (1994), 906 (1994), 937 (1994), 971 (1995), 993 (1995), 1036 (1996), 1065 (1996), 1096 (1997), 1124 (1997), 1150 (1998), 1187 (1998), 1225 (1999), 1255 (1999), 1287 (2000), 1311 (2000), 1339 (2001), 1364 (2001), 1393 (2002), 1427 (2002), 1462 (2003), 1494 (2003), 1524 (2004), 1554 (2004), 1582 (2005), 1615 (2005), 1666 (2006), 1752 (2007), 1781 (2007), 1808 (2008). Its important to note that until recently, allegedly formally the Russian Federation was among supporters of all these resolutions.

In attempt to justify its actions by deliberately misinterpreting the fundamental norms and principles of international law, the Russian Federation gravely violates the basics of the contemporary international system. It is an attempt to unilaterally alter the borders of a sovereign State with use of military force and reestablish its spheres of influence and dividing new lines in Europe. These actions of the Russian Federation are aimed at putting a stop to democratic development of the countries in the region and usher them in a soviet totalitarianism era.

The Russian Federation has used and is using ethnic cleansing of Georgian population as an instrument of its foreign policy. Having emptied the occupied territories of ethnic Georgians, the Russian Federation later claims that the remaining minority in these regions objects to living within the state of Georgia. It is remarkable that after the "recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia” by the Russian side, the ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population has become more intense not only in the conflict zones, but beyond them.

Through military aggression against and occupation of the part of sovereign territory of Georgia and by recognition of "independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, the Russian Federation has demonstrated to the international community that it is a party to the conflict and has no legal, political and moral grounds to pose as facilitator in the peace process aimed at peaceful solving of conflicts in Georgia.

It must be stressed that Georgia is not terminating the peace process as we understand the importance of its continuity. Our proposal is to replace negotiation and peacekeeping formats, which have been destroyed following the military aggression of Russia, with neutral international peacekeeping mechanisms.

The Government of Georgia remains strongly committed to the cease-fire agreement achieved with the mediation of President of the French Republic, as well as to the provisions of the respective letter of the President N. Sarkozy and the explanations enclosed.