“We must not turn the blind eye to the illegal activities. This would only encourage the occupation force” – Zalkaliani at the PACE session

Speaking before the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and President of the Committee of Ministers, David Zalkaliani answered questions of PACE MPs.
In his reply to a question of the Lithuanian MP regarding the Assembly resolution, the Minister harshly criticized Russia’s occupation of the Georgian territories.   
“The situation in the occupied territories has deteriorated, the process of actual annexation and occupation still continues” – the Minister said. Referring to the case of Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili, he stressed that barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers still continue to be erected.

“This process is taking place even as we speak now. I’d like to recall the case of abduction and detention of the doctor on his way to visit a patient at the occupation line. It was an alarming fact. The only instrument at our disposal is to consolidate the international community, which we are doing and are determined to do so through your support, with the use of various tools and frameworks” – Zalkaliani said. According to him, it is necessary to enhance pressure on the Russian Federation as a force exercising an effective control over the occupied territories.
“Access to the occupied territories is another challenge facing us. We have to deal with this challenge in both occupied regions.
Ethnic Georgians in the Gali district are forced to denounce the citizenship of Georgia. They are deprived of the right to education in the native language, to first medical aid; they have no access to their agricultural lands that is totally unacceptable in the 21st century. This problem must be posed in all international formats. And the only instrument to deal with it is to keep this issue on the international agenda. We must not turn the blind eye to the illegal activities. This would only encourage the occupation force – the Russian Federation to continue its illegal activities” – Zalkaliani said.