Marking ten years since Russia’s military aggression against Georgia in 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia confirms its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the parties to the conflict to engage constructively in the Geneva International Discussions on the settlement of the conflict. Regrettably, in the ten years since the cessation of hostilities, a solution satisfactory to all parties to the conflict has not been achieved. Developments in Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are a matter of concern, including the closure of border crossing points along the Administrative Boundary Line of the region of Abkhazia. These actions go against commitments to work towards enhanced security and improved living conditions for the conflict-affected population, as well as having a negative effect on the human rights situation and stability in the region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates that it does not recognise the so-called parliamentary elections illegitimately held in the Georgian region of Abkhazia in March 2017, and the so-called presidential elections and a referendum held in the Georgian region of South Ossetia in April 2017. The actions of this kind by separatist regimes do not contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
At the same time, Latvia welcomes Georgia’s efforts to facilitate its engagement with the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including the reconciliation and peace initiative by Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, “A Step to a Better Future” (Keti Package), brought forward by the Government of Georgia.
The European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) has a significant role to play in reducing tension among the parties to the conflict, as well as stabilising and normalising the situation. Latvia has been supporting the mission with human resources since its establishment, and five Latvian experts have currently been seconded to the EUMM.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs underlines that Latvia and Georgia have established excellent cooperation and a regular political dialogue is taking place. The present year is special in our relationship, with both countries celebrating in 2018 the centenaries of their independence and the 25th anniversary of setting up diplomatic relations.
Georgia is one of the countries prioritised by Latvia in its development cooperation: support is provided through both sharing reform experience and carrying out development cooperation projects in the areas of construction, border protection, increasing export capacity, strengthening local government, and others. In 2018, Latvian institutions are carrying out three EU Twinning projects in Georgia.
The implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement with its provisions on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provides Georgia with an opportunity for consolidating what has been achieved in the reform process to both strengthen democracy and advance economic growth. Visa-free travel between the EU and Georgia for holders of biometric passports took effect in March 2017 thereby expanding opportunities to build people-to-people contacts and practical cooperation.
Latvia regards Georgia as an important partner to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and being high on NATO’s agenda. Latvia position concerning Georgia’s path to NATO remains unchanged. At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, it was agreed that Georgia would once become a member of the Alliance. That decision was also reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit in 2018. Doors to NATO are open, and third countries have no right of veto on the Alliance’s decisions, which is confirmed by an invitation for Macedonia to begin accession talks to join NATO.
August 2008 saw a five-day war between Russia and Georgia. Several hundred people lost their lives as the result of the hostilities. On 12 August 2008, an EU-mediated six- point ceasefire agreement was signed by Georgia and Russia.