The FINANCIAL — On 15 September 2020, the Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, held a meeting with the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions, representing the UN and the OSCE, during their visit to Georgia. The Foreign Minister expressed concern over the increasing provocations by Russia, which threaten peace and stability throughout the region and restrict the fundamental rights of the local population.
David Zalkaliani strongly condemned the illicit arrests and kidnappings of Georgian citizens, including against the background of the ongoing illegal process of ‘borderisation’ near the villages of Atotsi, Kvemo Nikozi, and Khurvaleti. A special note was taken of Russia’s active use of hybrid warfare and misinformation campaigns targeted against Georgia and EUMM. According to the Minister, such destructive steps aim at destabilizing the situation in the country. Zalkaliani focused his attention on the difficult humanitarian situation in Gali and Akhalgori, the closure of the occupation line, and restrictions on free movement that weighs heavily on the local population.
The parties need to reach progress on the security and humanitarian issues caused by the Russian occupation, within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions. Special attention was paid to the necessity for the Russian Federation to comply with the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and the need to create international security arrangements in the occupied territories being an essential prerequisite for ensuring sustainable peace on the ground. David Zalkaliani urged the co-chairing international organizations to use all instruments available to put an end to provocations across the occupation line and ensure the immediate release of Georgian citizens detained illegally, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia wrote.
Head of the State Security Service of Georgia, Grigol Liluashvili has also held a meeting with the co-chairs of Geneva International Discussions — Toivo Klaar, Cihan Sultanoglu, and Rudolf Michalka. The parties reviewed the situation in the occupied territories and along the occupation line and discussed security challenges. Particular attention has been paid to the issue of the unconditional release of citizens of Georgia who are in illegal detention in the occupied Tskhinvali region. Furthermore, attention has been focused on the illegal process of so-called borderisation detected along the occupation line and its negative outcomes. During the meeting, the necessity to effectively apply and enhance the existing formats of negotiations, in particular, Geneva International Discussions and Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), has been reiterated. The importance of unrestricted access to the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to the occupied territories has been underlined, according to Georgian Public Broadcasting.
It is also noteworthy that Zalkaliani and UK Minister for European Neighbourhood Wendy Morton have discussed how Georgia and the United Kingdom can strengthen their partnership in terms of security, defense, culture, and trade. The virtual meeting was held last week, on September 9 in the framework of the Wardrop Strategic Dialogue. This was first initiated by former Foreign Secretary – William Hague while he was visiting Tbilisi. Read more.