POLITICS
U.S. Department of State Spokesperson on death of Georgian citizen in occupied Tskhinvali Region
28 February, 2018
U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert commented at the Press Briefing on the death of a Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili in the hands of occupation regime in Georgia’s breakaway region of Tskhinvali (so called South Ossetia).

According to the spokesperson, United States is deeply concerned by the death of a Georgian citizen during his February 22nd arrest and detention in the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of South Ossetia.

As a reminder, on February 22, the occupation regime detained three citizens
of Georgia – Archil Tatunashvili, Levan Qutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili in Akhalgori. One of the detainees, Archil Tatunashvili, died in prison on February 23.

United States expresses their condolences to Archil Tatunashvili’s family. As Heather Nauert noted, the United States is also deeply concerned by the arrest of other Georgian citizens, Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, and calls for them to be allowed to return freely across the administrative boundary line.
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Heather Nauert

“The United States calls for a full accounting of circumstances of the tragic incident and continues to encourage all sides to agree on additional measures to strengthen mutual confidence and transparency in the affected region” - U.S. Department of State Spokesperson stated.

Here is what Heather Nauert said at the Press Briefing on February 27:

A couple announcements I’d like to get started with today. First, this is coming in from our folks who are in Afghanistan now, from the Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, who is traveling in the region for the Kabul process:

Delegations from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of India, and the United States of America met today, February 27th, in Kabul on the margins of the Kabul Process Conference for the fourth round of U.S.-India-Afghanistan trilateral consultations. Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, Indian Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary Deepak Mittal, and U.S. South and Central Asia Senior Bureau Official Alice Wells met to discuss U.S. and Indian civilian assistance to Afghanistan, as well as regional issues of mutual interest to the three countries.

All sides welcomed discussions focused on political, economic, educational, and developmental goals and agreed that trilateral cooperation strengthens the economic and regional stability across many sectors in Afghanistan. The United States, Afghanistan, and India should continue and increase initiatives that support economic and developmental reforms in Afghanistan.

All sides agreed to continue to work together toward a safe, peaceful, democratic, pluralistic, and prosperous Afghanistan that is free from terrorism. They agreed that the dialogue continues to advance shared values and goals, and decided that the next meeting should take place on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September later this year.

Secondly, I’d like to say that the United States is shocked and saddened by the murder of a Slovak investigative reporter named Jan Kuciak, and also his partner Martina Kusnirova. We extend our deepest condolences to their family, friends, loved ones, as well as Mr. Kuciak’s colleagues at Aktuality.sk. That is a new site in Slovakia.

There appears to be evidence that the murder was connected to his work as an investigative journalist. If that is true, we echo the prime minister’s statement that this is an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy in Slovakia. Journalists must be able to work freely and safely to safeguard open and democratic societies. The crime calls for a swift, determined investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

Next, I’d like to say that the United States is deeply concerned by the death of a Georgian citizen, Archil Tatunashvili, during his February 22nd arrest and detention in the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of South Ossetia. We express our condolences to his family. The United States is also deeply concerned by the arrest of other Georgian citizens, Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, and call for them to be allowed to return freely across the administrative boundary line. The United States calls for a full accounting of circumstances of the tragic incident and continues to encourage all sides to agree on additional measures to strengthen mutual confidence and transparency in the affected region.
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Occupation line in Khurvaleti village, located near the country's occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region

Next, on Yemen, I know a lot of you are interested in what’s going on in Yemen. I want to share with you that the Hodeidah Port, which is the largest port in the country, now remains open. It has been open since December the 21st. You may recall that the Government of Saudi Arabia initially – pardon me – reopened Hodeidah for a minimum of 30 days back in December. We strongly commend the Saudi-led coalition’s decision to keep the port open. The gesture signals the coalition’s serious intent to support the international community’s efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Hodeidah is the country’s largest port and is a critical entry point for much needed humanitarian aid, commercial goods, including food, fuel, and also medicine. We urge commercial shippers to continue to use Hodeidah Port and U.S. Government-funded cranes to transport vital supplies into the country.

And then lastly, later this week, on Thursday afternoon at the White House, our Deputy Secretary John Sullivan will participate in the White House Cabinet-Level Opioid Summit to publicly highlight the agencies that are paying a – playing a key role in addressing America’s opioid crisis. At the summit, Deputy Secretary Sullivan will join Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen and the Attorney General Jeff Sessions on a law enforcement panel to discuss the State Department’s aggressive global counter-drug efforts to stop the overseas supply of illicit opioids.

Since the vast majority of illicit opioids like heroine and fentanyl come from overseas, the State Department has a crucial role to play in stopping the sources of supply as part of the broader U.S. Government effort. According to the most recent CDC data, in 2016, nearly 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and two-thirds of those were from opioids. In response to the epidemic, the State Department is leveraging its partnerships in Mexico and China and the broader international community to choke off illicit supplies. We are supporting Mexican authorities’ efforts to more aggressively eradicate poppy crops, build law enforcement capacity, enhance border security, and also bring transnational criminal organizations and drug traffickers to justice.

Energized by President Trump’s visit to China last November, we’re building a more productive relationship with China to address the synthetic drug problem. As a result of our cooperation, China has established domestic restrictions on the production and distribution of 143 substances, including a number of Fentanyl-related compounds. On Thursday we’d be more than happy to share the remarks of the deputy secretary after his meetings at the White House.

Related stories:

EU releases statement in relation to the latest developments in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali Region

Living on the Shifting Border of Georgia and Russia – The New York Times

Georgian photographer depicts the creeping borders in her country
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