On December 7, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze spoke at the 24th OSCE Ministerial Council – a forum of the OSCE participating states’ foreign ministers - held in Vienna on December 7-8, listing recent violations of international law in Georgia’s occupied regions and calling for the empowerment of the OSCE as an institution.
Janelidze said it was a “particular concern” that the OSCE foreign ministers were “meeting again against the backdrop of continued violations and increased challenges to the norms and principles of our organization and international rules-based order.”
Georgian Foreign Minister noted that in Georgia, since the last Ministerial Council meeting, “Russian occupation forces closed most of the so called crossing points across the occupation line, increased military presence, conducted more than 70 military exercises, through illegal agreements unified the military structures, continued the process of so called borderization and installed barbed wires dividing families, kidnapped hundreds of local civilians, prohibited native-language education in schools, continued deprivation of residence and property rights to ethnic Georgians, and et cetera.”
Mikheil Janelidze also spoke about “recent reactivation of the policy of ethnic cleansing,” bringing up the recent demolition of “263 houses of Georgian IDPs in Eredvi village of the occupied Tskhinvali Region under the so called Russian investment program.”
Janelidze said Georgia was ready to utilize “all instruments and mechanisms offered by the OSCE and other international organizations to cease the intensified ethnic discrimination in the occupied regions.” He also reiterated Georgia’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and called on Russia to reciprocate.
Minister Janelidze welcomed the OSCE engagement in the Geneva International Discussions, which, he said, was “the only format to achieve security and stability on the ground in full compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement.”
The Foreign Minister also praised OSCE’s role as a platform for addressing the challenges, and said that “in order to bring this organization from the backwater of international diplomacy, we the participating states should: empower the OSCE’s independent institutions and enhance the autonomy, uphold Helsinki commitments in full and in good faith, and finally show the political will to deliver on the idea of comprehensive concept of security – Europe free of conflicts, dividing lines and spheres of influence.”
On the sidelines of the Ministerial Council, Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, discussing Georgia’s place in the OSCE agenda, the organization’s engagement in the Geneva International Discussions, and Russia’s latest actions in Georgia’s occupied regions.