creeping occupation

NGOs: It is Crucial to Revise Georgia’s Strategy of Relations with Russia

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A number of non-governmental organizations shared a joint statement on July 7 appealing to the Government of Georgia regarding Russia’s creeping occupation of Georgia.

On July 4, Russian soldiers moved the fence of the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia near the village of Bershueti in the Gori municipality deeper into Georgian-controlled territory.

The NGOs have called upon the Government of Georgia to “mobilize the position of the international community in both bilateral and multilateral formats… to immediately hold a meeting in the framework of Security Council or/and security and Crisis Management Council.”

The NGOs added that “it’s crucially important to fundamentally revise Georgia’s strategy of relations with Russia.”

The signatories of the statement include the NGOs Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS), Media Development Foundation (MDF), Research Journalism and Advocacy Center, Georgia’s Democratic Initiative (GDI), Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), Atlantic Council of Georgia, Transparency International – Georgia (TI), Green Alternative, Society and Banks, Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI), World Experience for Georgia (WEG) and Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC).

Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze responded that, “the Security Council discusses the matters of organizing security and military building. As for the creeping occupation, it isn’t either one of those matters. It is not the prerogative of the Security Council to hold a meeting on this.”

Giorgi Kandelaki, a member of the opposition party Movement for Liberty - European Georgia, stated that “the Government of Georgia isn’t doing anything to keep the subject of Georgia’s territorial integrity heated on an international level.”

The NGOs’ statement reads as follows:

“On July 4th, 2017 Russian occupation forces illegally installed a so-called Border Sign across the occupation line in the Tskhinvali region, in the area of Bershueti village, Gori district. Moscow continues seizing Georgian territories and inculcating fear among the peaceful population. Herein, this is once again a continuation of Russia’s annexation policy towards occupied territories of Georgia.

Given situation represents a serious challenge to the national security of our country and the peaceful resolution of the Russian-Georgian conflict. Russia continues to grossly violate the principles of international law and its commitments undertaken under the Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008. It’s obvious that Russia’s goal is to fully annex occupied regions of Georgia and to shift Georgia’s foreign policy.

We appeal to the Government of Georgia to mobilize the position of the international community in both bilateral and multilateral formats and alongside to immediately hold a meeting in the framework of Security Council or/and security and Crisis Management Council, wherein imminent threats Georgia and its citizens face, Georgia’s security challenges, expressed in a so-called borderization, creeping occupation, and prospective annexation, will be discussed.

It’s crucially important to fundamentally revise Georgia’s strategy of relations with Russia. Once again, within the given circumstances elaborating anti-annexation strategy and thereof, planning adequate actions on its basis, including the development of efficient plans and standard operating procedures for addressing such crises, is critically essential.”

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