EU States Firm Support for Georgia 10 Years after South Ossetia War with Russia
The European Union has declared its firm support for Georgia’s territorial integrity on the 10th year since its war with Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
“Today marks the tenth anniversary of the conflict between Russia and Georgia. The European Union’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Georgia remains as strong as ever,” the EU’s High Representative on Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stated in a special declaration on behalf of the Union.
“The European Union reiterates its firm support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders,” she added.
“Unfortunately, Russian military presence in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia continues in violation of international law and commitments undertaken by Russia under the 12 August 2008 agreement, mediated by the European Union,” Mogherini pointed out.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia over its post-2014 conflict with Ukraine, including the annexation of the Crimea and the insurgency in the Donbass, but not over Russia’s 2008 conflict with Georgia.
South Ossetia, which has a population of slightly over 50,000 and a territory of 4,000 square km (1,500 square miles), together with another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, declared its independence from Georgia as a result of the six-day Russian-Georgian War in August 2008.
Independent South Ossetia has so far been recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Nauru, and is heavily dependent on Russian aid. Georgia, the West, and much of the rest of the international community consider it to be a Georgian region under Russian occupation.
Before the 2008 Russian-Georgian War, however, the South Ossetians first declared their independence in 1991, at the time when the former Soviet Union was breaking up. This lead to the 1991-92 South Ossetia War, which was ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire, establishing a Russian-Georgian-Ossetian peacekeeping force but nonetheless leaving the region divided.
Since 2015, there have been a number of incidents in which Russian troops move the South Ossetian border deeper into Georgia in what the Georgians call “creeping annexation” of their territory.
In her declaration on the 10th year since the outbreak of the Russia – Georgia War over South Ossetia, Mogherini confirmed the EU’s commitment to remain engaged and involved in stabilisation and conflict resolution efforts in Georgia, including by continuing its engagements as co-chair in the Geneva discussions, the efforts of the EU Special Representative, and the continued presence on the ground of the EU Monitoring Mission.
“In these ten years, Georgia has strengthened its democratic institutions and undertaken reforms in the rule of law. Georgia has developed a thriving economy and become an important destination for foreign direct investment and tourism. It now represents a model of democratic stability in the region,” the EU foreign policy chief concluded.
She also reminded that Georgia and the EU signed an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and in March 2017, Georgian citizens were granted visa-free travel to the EU and Schengen Area countries.
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