Statement of 14 June 2018 on the adoption of a resolution on GE occupied territories

Mr Sajjad Karim, Chairman of the Delegation to the EU-Armenia and EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and to the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee

Strasbourg, 14 June 2018 - "2018 marks a double anniversary for Georgia, as the country is celebrating the centennial of the proclamation of its short-lived but vibrant first Democratic Republic, and remembering the 10th anniversary of the Russian aggression of August 2008.

Despite the challenges posed by its difficult geopolitical situation, Georgia has firmly established itself as a front-runner among the Eastern Partnership countries. Unfortunately, the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia cannot benefit from the socio-economic development of the country, as both regions continue to suffer from the plague of Russian occupation, despite the Georgian authorities' laudable readiness for dialogue, recently illustrated by the ambitious "A Step for a Better Future" initiative for peace aimed at the citizens living on both sides of the administrative boundary lines.

For these reasons, the adoption, today in plenary, of a univocal resolution on Georgian occupied territories 10 years after the Russian invasion is of the outmost importance.

We, Members of the European Parliament, are firmly committed to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, which implies a firm policy of non-recognition of the so-called "Republics" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We are determined to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, by negotiation and diplomacy, including through the Geneva International Discussions, the activities of the EU Monitoring Mission and the efforts of EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia. Last but not least, the Russian Federation must be reminded of its international obligations. As the country exercising de facto control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian Federation must grant the EUMM access to the occupied regions, revert the rampant borderisation process and put an end to the systematic violations of human rights observed in these regions - in particular those committed on grounds of ethnicity, ensure the safe and dignified return of the internally displaced persons to their native lands, and see that the perpetrators of the illegal killing of Georgian internally displaced persons are promptly brought to justice.

By adopting this resolution, the Members of the European Parliament also made clear that any further aggression, may it be in Georgia or elsewhere, would not remain unanswered."