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12 August 201612:07

Foreign Ministry comment on statements by Georgia and Ukraine regarding the anniversary of August 2008 events

1431-12-08-2016

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Georgia’s Foreign Ministry has recently issued an eminently frustrating statement on the anniversary of the 2008 conflict in the Caucasus. The famous aphorism whereby “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history” fully applies to this situation, as if eight years were not enough for Tbilisi officials to come to grips with the real causes of the territorial disintegration of the country, back then under the leadership of the current Odessa Region governor. It is time to realise that some political decisions may lead to irreversible consequences. The criminal shelling of Tskhinval by night with Grad multiple rocket launchers in the early hours of August 8, 2008 is a textbook example of a decision of this kind.

Today’s reality is that two independent states, the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia exist on the part of former Georgian territory. They are independent in their domestic and foreign policy choices and take care of their security just as any other sovereign country, including by properly equipping their borders and tightening border controls. By their free choice to pursue a closer union and comprehensive rapprochement with friendly Russia, they obtained reliable support and protection.

However, the official narrative coming from Georgia has little if any concern for reality. They are sticking with the propaganda clichés using words like “aggression”, “ethnic cleansing”, “borderisation”, “illegal annexation” and “occupation.” There is no need to once again demonstrate the incongruity of these tales from a legal or factual perspective. We have long grown used to Georgian politicians being unable to grasp rational reasoning. They do not care that this “occupational rhetoric” is an insult above all for the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that runs counter to Tbilisi’s alleged commitment to promote reconciliation with these people. Neglect for the feelings and opinions of the so-called non-titular nations was and still is a cornerstone of Tbilisi politics despite all efforts to prove the contrary.

The statement by Georgian authorities could not fail to mention the mythical August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement. We have to reiterate that there is no such document. In fact, what is referred to here are the six principles of conflict settlement that were articulated by the presidents of Russia and France and submitted separately to Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia for signing.

Georgia’s self-adulation for its alleged contribution to easing tensions and promoting a political settlement is ironic. The truth is that it is Georgia that consistently seeks to derail the Geneva talks aimed at devising documents on the non-use of force, and has blocked discussions on the refugee issue by promoting politicised resolutions within the UN General Assembly. Georgia is behind frequent informational provocations and confrontational rhetoric. Among the examples of such rhetoric is the statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, as well as the statements by Georgian officials, including President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Statements by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and President Pert Poroshenko expressing ostentations solidarity with Georgia deserve special attention. The fact that Kiev and Tbilisi are helping each other get a better feel of what it means to be a “victim of Russian aggression” is no coincidence. They had better reconsider their dubious and ill-conceived policies.

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