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David Zalkaliani has delivered a speech at the 1314th meeting of the Committee of Ministers Deputies of the Council of Europe

18.04.2018, Strasbourg  The First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, David Zalkaliani spoke about the difficult situation in the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia during the 1314thmeeting of the Committee of Ministers Deputies of the Council of Europe dedicated to the discussion of the Consolidated Report on the Conflict in Georgia, which was prepared by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. 
On 18 April, the Committee of Ministers Deputies of the Council of Europe discussed at its 1314th meeting the Secretary General’s 17thConsolidated Report on the Conflict in Georgia.
In his speech David Zalkaliani highlighted the difficult human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and the steps taken by the Russian occupation forces over the recent period. He paid special attention to the murder of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili. Before, there was the murder of another IDP Giga Otkhozoria on the occupation line of Abkhazia region.
The First Deputy Foreign Minister also spoke about the so-called “treaties” signed by Russia with its occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which Georgia considers as a step taken towards annexation. 

In his speech David Zalkaliani also paid special attention to the so-called “borderization” process, the closure of the so-called checkpoints along the occupation line, illegal detentions, the opening of customs checkpoints in Sokuhumi and Akhalgori, the issuance of so-called residence permits to ethnic Georgians and other issues.

The First Deputy Foreign Minister highlighted the continuous process of discrimination along ethnic lines in Abkhazia, as well as in the Tskhinvali region. Special note was taken of mass destruction of houses of ethnic Georgians in the village of Eredvi. According to David Zalkaliani, these facts represent the gross violation of human rights of Internally Displaced Persons and a deliberate attempt to wipe out the Georgian trace in both regions.

David Zalkaliani expressed his concern over the banning of the Georgian language instruction. According to him, the existing situation calls for immediate action by the international community and for the establishment of CoE monitoring mechanisms in the occupied territories.

David Zalkaliani also spoke about the Georgian Government’s steps towards confidence building and policy of engagement. He highlighted the importance of the Geneva International Discussions in peaceful resolution of the conflict.

David Zalkaliani once again highlighted the Government’s peace initiative - Step toward a Better Future – aimed at improving the humanitarian and social-economic situation of the population of the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.

While discussing the Report on the Conflict in Georgia, statements in support for Georgia were made by the EU and GUAM.
Delegations of Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro, Monaco, Moldova, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia aligned themselves with the statement made on behalf of the EU.

The EU expresses its deep concern about the continuous deterioration of the human rights situation in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The EU renews its call on the authorities exercising effective control to remove any impediment, restriction or limitation to the right of freedom of movement across the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs), to prevent arbitrary detention of persons, including in the context of so-called “illegal border crossing”, to prevent ethnic–based discrimination, to re-open crossing points and to investigate all allegations of crimes and human rights violations on the ground.

The EU is particularly concerned  about: obstacles to the freedom of movement, arbitrary detentions, a continued discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, a deepening of the documentation gap for ethnic Georgians in the Gali district of Abkhazia, restrictions on access to education in one’s native language in both entities, and a violation of property rights, including the razing in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia of the ruins of houses belonging to internally displaced persons.

The EU pays special attention to the detention of three ethnic Georgians in Tskhinvali on 22 February and subsequent death in custody of Mr Archil Tatunashvili. According to the EU Statement, handing over the body of Mr Archil Tatunashvili to his relatives, which is a matter of human dignity, should not have taken almost one month and become a topic for negotiations. The EU also refers to the Otkhozoria case and calls for a thorough investigation into these cases and for justice to be applied.

The EU regrets that the delegation of the Secretariat, the monitoring bodies and the CoE Human Rights Commissioner have not been granted access to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The EU reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian illegal military presence, increased military exercises and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The EU condemns the implementation of the so-called treaties and deriving agreements, such as the one incorporating military formations of South Ossetia region into armed forces of the Russian Federation.

The EU is deeply concerned by an intensification of the so-called “borderisation” process along the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs). In this context the opening of  so-called customs points are particularly worrisome.

The EU welcomes the Georgian Government initiative “A step to a better future” that can address humanitarian, social and economic challenges.

According to the Statement made on behalf of GUAM, human rights situation in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains alarming. Deprivation of life of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili in Tskhinvali is clear evidence of that.
GUAM Member States express their deep concern over the “borderization” and closure of the so-called crossing points, violation of the right to free movement, the right to property, the rights to education in the native language.
The delegations of GUAM member states underline the importance of progress in the Geneva International Discussions, and the necessity of implementation of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire agreement. The delegations of GUAM member states welcome the new initiative of the Government of Georgia aimed at facilitating reconciliation and confidence-building.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes the publication of the Council of Europe Secretary General's 17th consolidated report as well as the statements made by the EU and GUAM. The Ministry hopes that the issue of the "Conflict in Georgia" will remain high on the Council of Europe's political agenda.

It is important that the Council of Europe continues to monitor Georgia’s commitments with respect to the war in 2008 and keeps the international community updated on the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories.
CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland’s 17th consolidated report – Conflict in Georgia - covers the period between October 2017 and March 2018. 

The consolidated report is prepared twice a year by the Council of Europe Secretary General based on the decision of the CoE Committee of Ministers made in 2010.