For the first time since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, a special group within the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has adopted a declaration on the conflict that supports Georgia's territorial integrity and condemns the occupation of Georgian soil.
This week the OSCE's Group of Friends of Georgia adopted a declaration, which was assessed as an important document that will be part of the package of the OSCE Ministerial Council.
Here are some key points of the declaration:
- The Group of Friends expresses its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
- The Group of Friends expresses support for peaceful resolution of the conflict, on the basis of the United Nations Charter, Helsinki Final Act, international norms and principles.
- The Group of Friends stresses the difficult humanitarian situation in Georgia’s Russian occupied territories, especially the discrimination of ethnic Georgians.
- The Group of Friends calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and ensure the withdrawal of armed forces from the occupied territories.
- The Group of Friends calls on Russia to withdraw its recognition of Georgia’s breakaway regions – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia).
- The Group of Friends emphasises the need for the creation of an international mechanism in the occupied territories to provide security and stability.
- The Group of Friends expresses its concerns over human rights violations in the occupied territories, including the right to free movement and education to native language.
- The Group of Friends stressed the importance of achieving progress in terms of non-use of power and the Geneva talks, and peaceful return of internally displaces persons.
- The Group of Friends calls on OSCE member states to achieve an agreement to restore an OSCE mission to Georgia.
"Unprecedented support for Georgia”
Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze said the OSCE Group of Friends of Georgia showed "unprecedented support" for the country by adopting the declaration.
Given the fact that Russia is a party to the conflict and is also a member of the OSCE, while all decisions made within the OSCE are based on consensus, it has always been impossible to adopt a common document,” said Janelidze
However it is very important that for the first time since the 2008 conflict the OSCE Group of Friends of Georgia adopted a declaration that explicitly recognises the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.”