European People’s Party urges Russia to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity

PACE statement came days after Russia erected new so-called border signs along the ABL in Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali region. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 17 Jul 2015 - 19:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European People’s Party (EPP) has "strongly condemned” Russia’s installation of new signposts that effectively redraws the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) of breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and extending its occupation two kilometres deeper into Georgian territory.

"Russia is further provoking Georgia by creating tensions in the region and depriving the local population of fragile peace. Such actions pose a serious danger to Georgian safety and to the regional and energy security of the South Caucasus region,” said EPP president Joseph Daul.

"Russia’s appetite to acquire control over nearby parts of the Caspian-Black Sea (Baku-Supsa) oil pipeline and the subsequent energy deliveries is one of the main reasons to advance their presence further into Georgian territory,” he said.

The EPP, which is the largest political party in the European Parliament, also called on Russia to fully implement the 2008 EU-brokered ceasefire agreement, including providing the EU Monitoring Mission with "full and unimpeded access” to the territories of Georgia it occupied.

'"Furthermore, the EPP calls upon the European External Action Service and the European Commission to follow the situation closely and to undertake adequate diplomatic actions,” the EPP’s statement read.

"Today 20 percent of Georgia’s territory is illegally occupied by Russia: South Ossetia and Abkhazia are integral parts of Georgia. The EPP strongly supports Georgia’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence,” said the EPP.

The statement comes seven days after Russia illegally erected new so-called border signs along the ABL between Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) and the rest of the country.

On July 10, Russian forces in occupied Tskhinvali installed banners marking the so-called "state border” on the territory adjacent to Tsitelubani village in Gori municipality and Orchosani village in occupied Akhalgori district, in close vicinity to the Tbilisi-Gori central highway. These actions saw Russia’s occupational forces advance 2km into Georgian territory.

The situation at the ABL intensified yesterday after seven armed people in military uniform removed a Georgian flag that had been raised by representatives of Georgian media three days ago instead of the demarcation banner installed by the Russian forces on July 10.

Several members of the international community, includingParliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Union(EU), United Nations, Czech Republic, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, the United States (US) and Ukraine, have already condemned the developments at Georgia’s ABL.