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Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the UN GA Resolution of September 9, 2009 on “Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia”

The 63rd plenary session of the UN General Assembly on 9th of September 2009 adopted a resolution submitted by Georgia on the "Status of the Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia". The resolution was passed by a large majority (with 48 countries voting in favor, 19 - against and 78 abstentions).

It is noteworthy that this is the first substantial resolution on Georgia that the UN has adopted since the war in August 2008. Most importantly, this resolution is the first resolution of the General Assembly and the UN in general that deals with the exceedingly grave situation in the Tskhinvali region.

The Resolution is clearly of a humanitarian nature despite many attempts to politicize its content. It recognizes the right of safe and dignified return of all internally displaced persons and refugees and their descendants, regardless of ethnicity, to their homes in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region and stresses the need to respect their property rights.

The Resolution condemns forced demographic changes caused by the conflicts on the territory of Georgia, which means that the UN General Assembly considers the cases of ethnic cleansing that had taken place over the last 18 years as utterly unacceptable.

This Resolution also underlines the need for the development of a timetable to ensure a voluntary, safe, dignified and unhindered return of all internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes throughout Georgia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia reserves hope that the Russian Federation and the proxy regimes under its control will during the Geneva discussions revise the position they have adhered to for many years, which is absolutely unacceptable from the standpoint of international law, and will at least this time engage in constructive efforts to develop a timetable for the return of the internally displaced persons and refugees.

The Resolution of the General Assembly underlines the urgent need for unimpeded access for humanitarian activities throughout Georgia, including in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. This paragraph takes on particular importance against the background of the Russian Federation and its proxy regimes still barring the humanitarian missions and international organizations from accessing the occupied territories of Georgia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its profound gratitude to 48 countries whose delegations, together with Georgia, supported the Resolution. These countries are: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Andorra, United States, New Zealand, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Spain, Estonia, Vanuatu, Japan, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Greece, San Marino, France, Saint Lucia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uganda, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia.

Despite the Russian Federation's serious efforts to politicize the distinctly humanitarian and balanced approach of the Resolution and to block the Resolution itself, the international community managed to adhere to its principles and act in accordance with the norms and principles of the international law.

The adoption of the UNGA Resolution of 9 September indicates once again that the Russian Federation is a hostage of the destructive policy it had been pursuing against Georgia over recent years and the unlawful decision adopted on 26 August 2008.

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