Russia’s occupation of two regions of Georgia is the greatest existing challenge facing the country, says Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
Speaking in front of hundreds of high officials at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 71st Session in New York, United States (US), Kvirikashvili stressed the human rights of people who lived in Georgia’s two occupied regions were permanently being violated.
He reminded UNGA guests that 20 percent of Georgia’s territories, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) were occupied by Russia.
The populations in the occupied regions endure constant ethnic discrimination and gross human rights violations. Their freedom of movement and their property rights are restricted. They are even denied education in their native language,” he said.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Georgia were also still denied the right to return to their homes, because of the occupation.
Watch Georgian leader's full address to the United Nations General Assembly speech below:
Kvirikashvili said the only way to overcome this adversary was through peaceful dialogue and he thanked Georgia’s allies for supporting the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
We are grateful for the support offered by the UNGA Resolution on the Status of IDPs and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia, and the Tskhinvali Regions/so-called South Ossetia, Georgia. Now it is time to translate this measure of support into action.”
Kvirikashvili also said he and the rest of Georgia condemned the fact people in Georgia’s occupied territories were forced to participate in the recent elections of the Russian State Duma. He said this was a form of provocation and "another part of Moscow’s annexation policy”.
The ongoing occupation and steps towards annexation remain the greatest existing challenge inherited by our Government. We have been seeking a workable solution with the Russian Federation. We have made some concrete progress in de-escalating tensions but Georgia’s steps forward have not at all been reciprocated,” Kvirikashvili said
Against this backdrop I would like to once again reaffirm that this conflict must be resolved peacefully, based on the full respect of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.”
The current Georgian Government would continue to respond to the concerns of people living in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions and reconcile the war-torn communities across the occupation line.
Kvirikashvili also vowed his Government would make all benefits of Georgia’s European agenda and economic opportunities available to people living in the occupied territories.