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‘Russia violated cease-fire,’ says Georgian envoy

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Published : 2014-06-01 20:40
Updated : 2014-06-01 20:40

Georgian Ambassador to South Korea Nikoloz Apkhazava accused Russia of violating a cease-fire agreement that ended hostilities between the neighboring countries in 2008 and demanded that it withdraw forces, during a National Day reception at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Monday.

Apkhazava made the comments during a reception celebrating Georgia’s Independence Day attended by dozens of foreign ambassadors and government officials.
Georgian Ambassador to South Korea Nikoloz Apkhazava delivers a speech during a reception celebrating the Independence Day of Georgia in Seoul on Monday. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)

“The issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity remains a top priority on our agenda. In August 2008, Russian military aggression resulted in occupation of the inalienable Georgian regions of Apkhazava and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia,” the Georgian envoy said in a speech.

Bordering the Black Sea, Abkhazia has been a de facto independent country since the end of the 1992-1993 War in Abkhazia and a 1994 cease-fire agreement with Georgia. Georgia does not recognize its independence. In August 2008, Georgia fought a brief war with Russia, South Ossetian separatist forces and other groups over Abkhazia and other territories. Tensions remain to this day.

Those tensions in Abkhazia have recently flared, making headlines in the international press. “Russia should fulfill the six-point cease-fire agreement of 2008, withdraw its troops from Georgia’s occupied regions and ensure full access of international monitors to these territories,” Apkhazava said.

Georgia is a strategically important country located in the Caucasus region on Russia’s southern border, sometimes describes as Russia’s “soft underbelly” to emphasize both Russia’s vulnerability to the instability in the region and its geopolitical importance.

“Despite Georgia’s efforts to normalize relations with Russia in areas where progress is achievable, Russian forces have nonetheless become more active in reinforcing barbwires and other artificial obstacles along the occupation line thereby displacing the population living in the adjacent areas and violating the fundamental human rights of people living in and outside the occupied territories,” Apkhazava said.

By Philip Iglauer (ephilip2014@heraldcorp.com)

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