The United States Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, visited on July 14 the village of Karapila in Kaspi Municipality, bordering the occupied Akhalgori Municipality, where he denounced Russia’s violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and the ongoing borderization process.
The ambassador stressed in his remarks that the place is located close to “the most important [East-West] highway in Georgia,” which has “tremendous strategic significance” beyond the country as well.
“I continue to be appalled that in the 21st century there is such a gross violation of Georgian sovereignty by a neighbor of Georgia, and the United States will never accept this unilateral redrawing of the sovereign borders of Georgia,” said Ian Kelly, adding that the Russian borderization activities “artificially and inhumanely divide people and have a tremendous impact on farmers and family members and people who are divided in two.”
Ambassador Kelly noted that he believed such “unnatural act of dividing people by a greater power” would not stand, and would never be recognized by the United States, similarly to the incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union.
Kelly also said he would like to see more progress in the Geneva International Discussions and added that “the most important thing” the United States could do was to “remain steadfast and speak out and be supportive of Georgia and its reform path.”
Concerns over the borderization were also voiced by the U.S. Mission to the OSCE.
“The United States notes our long-standing concern that the placement of so-called “border” markings along the administrative boundary lines of the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, and hinders the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Chargé d’Affaires Kate M. Byrnes said at the Permanent Council on July 13.
“The placement of such markers has a direct and negative impact on the well-being of all living in the area, harming their livelihoods, and restricting their freedom of movement, putting the vulnerable, including those requiring medical treatment, at greater risk,” she also stated.
The U.S. Mission’s statement also calls on “Russia, as a party to the conflict, to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including by withdrawing all its forces to pre-conflict positions and providing unhindered access for humanitarian assistance, as well as reversing its unilateral recognition of these Georgian regions as independent states.”
Tbilisi reported last week that Russian troops installed a new green ‘border sign’ in the area of Bershueti village, Gori Municipality, prompting a number of protest rallies by Georgian citizens close to the area.