European community concerned by Russia-South Ossetia ‘treaty’

UK Minister for Europe David Lidington expressed concern about so-called deal with Russia and breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region., 19 Mar 2015 - 11:55, Tbilisi,Georgia

A handful of European countries have openly stated they do not recognise the so-called "Treaty on Alliance and Integration” between Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region and the Russian Federation.

Foreign Affairs departments of several European countries released statements that condemned the so-called deal between the Russian Federation and breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region, and expressed support to Georgia’s territorial integrity. 

The United Kingdom (UK) assessed the deal, which was signed yesterday in Moscow, as Russia’s interference in the affairs of its neighbours.

UK Minister for Europe David Lidington expressed concern about the agreement and said it represented further infringement of Georgian sovereignty, following the November 2014 signing of a similar agreement between Russia and Abkhazia, Georgia’s other breakaway region.

Speaking after the signing, Lidington said both treaties signed between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway regions "will only complicate vital regional peace-building efforts and create further obstacles to progress at the long-running Geneva talks on regional security and the non-use of force in the region”.

"This is yet more evidence of Russian interference in the affairs of its neighbours and demonstrates a blatant disregard for their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

"Similar interference has led to the terrible situation we see in Ukraine. The UK remains firm in its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and I call on Russia to fulfil all of its 2008 ceasefire commitments, including removing its troops from South Ossetia to pre-conflict positions,” he said.

Moreover, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry released a statement today that emphasized the treaty was "a cause for deep concern for the Republic of Bulgaria" in terms of development of the process towards ensuring a lasting settlement of conflict hot spots in Georgia and the greater region.

"This document violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and the principles of international law, contradicts the international commitments undertaken by the Russian Federation, and, like the similar document signed with breakaway Abkhazia in November 2014, has no legal force” read the Bulgarian statement.

Also today, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende released a statement where he emphasized that the agreement violated Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"The fact that Russia is entering into alliance and integration [deal] with the breakaway regions of Georgia does not contribute to promoting security and stability in the region. The agreements violate Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Therefore I take strong distance from the current sourcing between Russia and the Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia," said Brende.

Many players in the global community have already condemned the so-called deal with Russia and Georgia’s breakaway regions, with many assessing it as "yet another step that goes against ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in the region”.