Maxim Gundjia addressed a letter to OSCE and MFA of Lithuania concerning upcoming OSCE summit in Astana, Kazakhstan
OSCE SECRETARY GENERAL
AMBASSADOR MARC PERRIN DE BRICHAMBAUT
MR. KANAT SAUDABAYEV
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF
THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
MR. AUDRONIUS AŽUBALIS
OSCE is one of the organizations, which presence in the Caucasus was a significant deterrent to the escalation of the conflict, but all the efforts of the International Community and in particular Russia towards political resolution of the Georgian-South Ossetian and the Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts have been whittled by unilateral and aggressive actions of Georgia in August 2008. As a result, new political realities had emerged in the Caucasus and Abkhazia and South Ossetia became recognized and sovereign states.
During period of OSCE’ presence in the Caucasus it has gained considerable experience and knowledge of chronology and history of the conflicts in the region. However, Georgia which is denying its guiltiness for the outbreaks of numerous wars, undertakes new provocative actions and continues to develop new aggressive plans against Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
One of these manifestations is initiated by Georgia international campaign for the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Russian-occupied territories.
In accordance with accepted international norms and conventions, the question of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories is illegal and unfounded.
According to The Hague Convention of 1907, Geneva Conventions of 1949 and certain provisions of Additional Protocol to Geneva Conventions of 1977, occupied territories are such territories, "occupied by enemy forces, leading sustained and concerted military operations" or "creating their own administration". Territory is considered as occupied when it "indeed is under the authority of hostile army."
It must be emphasized that democratically elected, legitimate government structures of the Government of the Republic of Abkhazia that have nothing to do with "administration of hostile army" enjoy full authority throughout the territory of Abkhazia.
It should be noted that Russian troops are located on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia in accordance with the international agreements signed between Abkhazia and Russia. Moreover, the presence of Russian troops is welcomed and fully supported by the entire population of Abkhazia. Given situation is caused by the fact that these forces are the guarantors of non-resumption of hostilities from the side of Georgia, which is still preparing plans for another military invasion of Abkhazia.
Based on the aforementioned, the call of the Georgian side to international community to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as an occupied territories is simply an attempt to portray Georgia as a victim and to distort the facts and consequences of long-term confrontation between Georgia and Abkhazia.
We also believe it is necessary to note that many of the OSCE declarations on the so-called "ethnic cleansing" of Georgians in Abkhazia, reflect superficial and prejudiced attitude towards the problem of Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. This position completely ignores the results of investigation of the UN Experts Committee in October 1993, pursuant to which massacres of Abkhaz and Russian-speaking population on the territory of Abkhazia by the Georgian State Council troops were recognized.
We note that during this period the UN Mission conducted this work with participation of the OSCE. "The United Nations attempted to revive the peace process through diplomatic means, in consultation with Summit on Security and Cooperation in Europe (SSCE) [now renamed into Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)], in order to ensure effective coordination of activities."
Despite this, the OSCE repeatedly reflected biased pro-Georgian position, laying all the responsibility on the Abkhaz side. Such a biased, one-sided position of the OSCE, as reflected in the Budapest, Lisbon and Istanbul declarations, only encourages Georgia to irresponsible aggressive policy in the region.
As one of the Co-chairs of Geneva discussions, the OSCE is obliged to conduct equidistant constructive policy aimed at stabilizing the situation in the region. Lack of such policy could cause reasonable doubts from the Abkhazian side concerning neutrality of the OSCE, as the Co-chair of the Geneva discussions.
Reaffirming our commitment to constructive and peaceful dialogue, we deem it necessary to provide an opportunity for representatives of the Abkhazian side to visit the OSCE Headquarters for meetings with leaders of the organization, and to address the states-participants in the format of post-soviet space, as well as to be present during discussion of matters related to the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict held within the OSCE. This condition will enable the OSCE to make objective and balanced decisions that will contribute to resolution of conflicts and contradictions in the Caucasus.
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS