I would like to express my deep concern about latest developments in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region in Georgia, namely the so-called “parliamentary elections” that took place in the occupied region of Abkhazia on March 12 and the so-called “presidential elections” in the occupied South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region to be held on April 9. These “elections” are taking place against the background of waves of ethnic cleansing in both regions and of serious violations of human rights. SEDE subcommittee has been closely following the situation in occupied territories, visiting the Administrative Boundary Line and IDP’s camps. Any attempt to legitimize forcibly changed demographic situation of both regions is unacceptable.
I condemn the so-called referendum planned on April 9 in South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region aimed at changing its name, which is aimed to prepare ground for its illegal annexation.The democratic world should give an adequate assessment to this provocative attempt to violate sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and to gradually incorporate the region into the Russian Federation.
I also strongly condemn the signing of so-called agreement on incorporation of the unlawful military units of the occupied Tskhinvali region into the armed forces of the Russian Federation that took place on 31 March 2017. This step continues a policy of annexation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions by the Russian Federation that began with signing of so-called treaties of alliance and integration/strategic alliance between Russia and its occupation regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. Integration of Georgia’s occupied regions into the military system of the Russian Federation also adds up to Moscow’s continued refusal to commit to the non-use of force in the region and to comply with the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. The EU should make it clear that by these provocative actions the Russian Federation is seriously harming the Geneva International Discussions and intentionally obstructs any potential progress in the peace process.
I am also very concerned about the latest instance of closure of crossing points along the Administrative Boundary Line with Abkhazia, which aggravates even more the situation on the ground. This measure is aimed at further restricting freedom of movement and people to people contacts which has been an important factor of confidence-building in the conflict-torn region.
Subcommitte on Securiy and Defence will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali.
Anna Fotyga, Chair of SEDE