• August 6, 2018
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Ministers of MFA of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia: On the anniversary of Russian aggression against Georgia we want to remind that to the world

On the 10th anniversary of Russian aggression against Georgia we want to remind about violation of independence of Georgia, tragedy of thousands of expelled families, hundreds of killed and wounded –  said the head of Polish diplomacy Jacek Czaputowicz, during the shared speech with heads of MFA of Lithuania and Latvia.

 Minister Czaputowicz together with deputy prime minister of Ukraine Paweł Rozenka and ministers of foreign affairs of Lithuania and Latvia, Linas Linkevičius and Edgars Rinkevicius, paid a visit to Georgia. The two-day visit, which started on Monday, is involving the 10th anniversary of Russian aggression against this country.

Czaputowicz reminded on Monday statement before departure to Georgia that on the 7th of August 2008, Russia committed armed aggression against Georgia, as a result more than 150 thousand people had to leave their homes and more than 400 Georgian soldiers died defending their country.

“Today, on the 10th anniversary of these events we are going to Georgia together with ministers of foreign affairs of: Lithuania – Linas Linkeviczius and Latvia – Edgars Rinkevicius, for shared commemoration of the victims of war and as a gesture of solidarity with the country and people of Georgia. We will be joined on the spot by the Ukrainian deputy prime minister Paweł Rozenko “– said the head of MFA.

“Together with the Georgian authorities we want to remind the world about what happened on August 2008, about violation of independence of Georgia, tragedy of thousands of families expelled from places of their living, hundreds of killed and wounded” – added Czaputowicz.

“We want to remind about first in post-war European history military aggression of neighbouring country against a sovereign country and lasting till this day occupation of its territory” – said the head of Polish MFA.

Czaputowicz relating to the formula of the visit pointed out that they want to remind about a “historic visit” of president Lech Kaczyński in Tibilisi in August 2008. It took place – stated the head of MFA – “together with the presence of the presidents of Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine as well as the prime minister of Latvia” and was “unprecedented expression of support of independence of Georgia in the first days of Russian aggression on this country”.

The minister of foreign affairs at the same time reminded the words which Lech Kaczyński uttered during that visit: “we know exactly – today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine and on the day after tomorrow Baltic counties and later, perhaps, there will be time for my country – Poland”.

“These words, as later events showed, unfortunately became prophetic and it seems that they are still current” – said Czaputowicz.

“The brave decision of shared visit to Tbilisi of president Lech Kaczyński with presidents of countries loyal to Georgia was made in the time when Russian tanks were closing on the Georgian capital. Georgia remembers this remarkably bold gesture. The figure of president Lech Kaczyński became for Georgians a symbol of Polish friendship” – said the head of Polish diplomacy.

He added that “the aggressive Russian policy in the area, lack of will to regulate caused  by Kremlin conflicts is a serious threat for post-war order in Europe and for obeying the international law”.

The head of MFA of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius thanked Czaputowicz and the head of MFA of Latvia for the possibility of shared visit to Georgia. “We will not celebrate war there, we will celebrate solidarity, we will support and remember” – said Linkeviczius.

He stressed that solidarity is required “as a result of lessons which were not learned”. As he mentioned, unfortunately the war in Georgia in year 2008 “did not shock the world”. “This is why we want to remind want happened. We have to hold fundamental position, so the aggressor will carry the international obligations out” – he said.

He reminded that currently Russia is occupying the Crimea. “Solidarity is needed (…). We have to show the support as a part of the Eastern Partnership” – stressed the head of Lithuanian diplomacy. “We also want to remind that want happened in Georgia, where 20 percent of the territory was occupied, should not reappear  due to the fact that we are too weak in our relations” – he added.

The head of Latvian MFA Edgars Rinkevics said that 10 year ago in Georgia international law and order were violated, it is important for us to remind that to the world – said during the conference on Monday in Warsaw the head of Latvian MFA Edgars Rinkevics.

He highlighted that currently Georgia and Ukraine are fighting not only for their territorial integrity and independence but also for “our” independence and security.

“What happened in Georgia in year 2008 and next in Ukraine, allows us to think that we have to do everything to avoid it from happening again” – said the head of Latvian MFA.

He assessed that on account of Russian aggression against Georgia ten year ago, EU made a “big mistake”. “It is very important for us to remind the world what happened 10 years ago, that international law and order were violated and they still are. Today, we have to remind the world, Europe and our societies that Georgia, Ukraine which is subject to great transformations, fights for territorial integrity” – said Rinkevics.

“This visit will not only be symbolic but we will also talk with our friends, the president, prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of Georgia, how can we exactly help them in cooperation with EU and NATO” –  he added.

He stressed that Latvia, Lithuania as well as Poland are equally striving to make Georgia and Ukraine members of NATO.

According to the press office of Polish MFA, during the two-day visit there are planed among others: meeting with the president of Georgia Giorgi Margwelaszwili, prime minister Mamuka Bachtadze, the head of Parliament Irakli Kobachidze and minister of foreign affairs Dawit Zalkalian. The ministers will together lay wreaths at Memorial of Heroes, fallen for the unity of Georgia and visit the administrative separation line with the separatist Region of Cchinwali/South Ossetia. Moreover, Czaputowicz laid a wreath at the President Lech Kaczyński monument in Tbilisi.

In year 2008, after the Russian aggression, independence was claimed by separatist regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Their self-appointed authorities, supported by Russia, are not recognised by other countries.

Agreement on alliance and strategic partnership with both separatist regions, Georgia made with Russia. Following its tracks, both self-appointed countries were recognised by Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru. Other countries recognise both republics as a part of Georgia. Georgia considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia as land under Russian occupation.

Translated by Artur Kuropas within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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