POLITICS
US mission to OSCE welcomes Georgia’s peace initiative regarding it occupied territories
13 April, 2018
The United States mission to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) responded to the discussion of the issue of Georgia’s occupation at the Permanent Council of the OSCE.

The United States welcomes Georgia’s package of proposals, which helps to improve the lives of people in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

“Thank you for also highlighting Georgia’s package of proposals to improve the lives of people in Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The
United States welcomes these measures, which help address the needs of the most vulnerable populations on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Lines. They provide increased opportunities for trade, mobility, improved livelihoods, and access to education,” the US mission to the OSCE said.

“We also thank you for sharing your frank assessment of the situation on the ground and the challenges facing participants in the Geneva International Discussions. The United States remains strongly committed to this format.
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US mission to OSCE welcomes Georgia’s peace initiative regarding it occupied territories

At the forty-third round on March 27 and 28, the United States condemned the tragic death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili following his arrest and detention in South Ossetia in February, and the unacceptable delay in the return of his remains. The United States delegation called for a full and transparent investigation. The United States cited the tragic death as the most recent example underscoring the immediate need for international mechanisms to improve security and stability on the ground,” it said.
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United States condemned the tragic death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili

According to the statement, the United States regrets that participants were again not able to discuss internally displaced persons because of Russia’s walk-out from Working Group II.

“For almost 10 years, Russia has sought to create an alternate reality. While Georgia seeks opportunities for engagement with people living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia maintains relations with two fictitious countries as a ruse to control and occupy regions of a neighboring sovereign state. We will continue to use the Permanent Council and other fora to hold Russia accountable for its violation of international law, and to expose Russia’s attempts to distort the truth and rewrite history.
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The United States urges Russia to withdraw its forces to pre-war positions per the 2008 ceasefire agreement

The United States urges Russia to withdraw its forces to pre-war positions per the 2008 ceasefire agreement and reverse its purported recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent States,” the statement reads.

Georgian government’s new peaceful initiative – a Step toward a Better Future

As a reminder, the government of Georgia has recently approved a new peaceful initiative – a Step toward a Better Future, involving three main directions.

The government is going to implement these initiatives in order to improve the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people living in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, so-called South Ossetia, attain tangible benefits, promote contacts, free movement and relations across the dividing lines, based on mutual interests.
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Government of Georgia has recently approved a new peaceful initiative

According to the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, the package of legislative amendments, which the Government of Georgia submits to the Parliament, covers three main directions: Encourage, expand and simplify trade across dividing lines through creating new opportunities;

Create additional opportunities for quality education and simplify access to all levels of education both internally and internationally; To ease an access of the population of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia to various services and benefits including an introduction of a status-neutral mechanism of identification with a personal number for the residents of the two regions that does not relate to citizenship but enables to access a range of different services.
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State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili

Apart from it, for those interested, a simplification of establishing a Georgian citizenship as well as concrete civil facts is also envisaged.

The breakaway regions of Georgia

Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) are the occupied territories of Georgia, claiming independence from the country.

Russia's initial recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) occurred in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian War, six months after the western recognition of the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo from Serbia in February 2008.
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Occupation line in Tskhinvali, so-called South Ossetia

Ten years have passed since the August War between Georgia and Russia in 2008. As a result of Russia’s intervention, 228 Georgia’s citizens and 14 police officers, 1 747 were injured. About 150,000 people were forced out of their homes, with 30,000 among them remaining refugees to this day. 169 soldiers deceased and 5 were missing in action, although due to no trace of them being found for 2 years and no signs of them being alive reported, they are now officially considered deceased.
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A checkpoint on the line of control between Georgia and the breakaway Abkazia Region

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued the order of recognizing Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia on the 26th of August.

In total, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) have been recognized by six and five UN member states respectively, though Vanuatu withdrew its recognition of Abkhazia in 2013 as did Tuvalu of both in 2014. The two regions recognize each other, and also have some recognition from other non-UN member states.
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Georgia and the majority of countries of the world do not recognize the breakaway regions as independent

Georgia and the majority of countries of the world do not recognize them as independent. Georgia officially considers them as sovereign territory of the Georgian state under Russian military occupation.

It is noteworthy that Russia’s creeping border occupation is observed between Georgia’s controlled territory and Tskhinvali till now.

Related stories:

Government to offer benefits and services to people living in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions

Occupation and presence of Russian troops in occupied regions remain main threat to Georgian state

Georgian soldier's death in occupied Tskhinvali Region discussed as the main theme at Geneva talks

US experts say direct dialogue to create threat of de-facto legitimization of Tskhinvali and Sokhumi

10 Years After Putin’s Invasion, Russia Still Occupies Parts of Georgia – Daily Signal
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