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Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia concerning the possible withdrawal of the Russian Branch of World Wildlife Fund from the Coordination Council of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games

Russian Branch of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has announced that it might stop cooperating with the "Olympstroy" (Russian State Corporation which manages most of Sochi 2014 Olympic's constructions) within the framework of the Coordination Council, created to provide ecological maintenance of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. According to the Russian environmental activists, their remarks, suggestions and recommendations are being ignored by constructors. Ecologists underline that "preparation for the Olympics is not under control", causes vast damage to the environment and it seems that this process will continue in the future.

According to the statement released by WWF's Russian branch, they used the momentum of the start of the Vancouver Olympic Games to illustrate to the world the violations of the ecological norms that take place throughout the preparatory works of Sochi Olympics.

With regard to the above-mentioned, we would like to state the following:

1. The Georgian Side has repeatedly indicated on the ecological crimes that were previously committed by the Russian Federation and continue to be carried out at presemt. Georgia has constantly addressed the relevant International Organizations as well as entire International Community on this issue.

Therefore, the concerns of the WWF are well-founded and logical, this once again indicates on the possibility of deplorable outcome of Russia's and personally Putin's "national project".

2. Hereby, it is noteworthy that the extraction and export of inert materials from the river deltas' of the region of Abkhazia, Georgia to the Russian Federation for construction of the Sochi 2014 Olympic infrastructure still continues. In case this process is protracted in such a manner, the unique and fragile nature of the Black Sea coastline, adjacent to the Southern part of the Russia-Georgia's state border, will be irreparably injured that equals to the ecological catastrophe of the whole Caucasian Region.

3. Herewith, it should be underlined that Russia's decision to conduct research and exploration works over the territorial waters of Georgia, with the aim to exploit and develop oil and gas reserves, represents a clear and gross violation of the norms of the international law as well as the Georgian legislation, in particular, "1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea", Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia and Oil and Gas Law of Georgia.

4. In general, recent actions of the Russian Federation and proxy regime are nothing, but pirate activities.

The same assessment can be made on the decision regarding the establishment of direct air connection between Russia and Abkhazia, Georgia that is against all international norms and represents a direct threat to the civil air navigation of the Black Sea and Caucasus regions.

5. The same concerns to the statements of the Russian side, according to which Russia plans to utilize violent methods against Georgian ships in the territorial waters of Georgia.

The afore-mentioned actions of the Russian Federation once again demonstrate that the criminal policy, expressed in military aggression against Georgia in August 2008, subsequent occupation of Georgia's territories and ethnic cleansing, together with gross and mass violations of human rights, now causes the ecological catastrophe.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia once again addresses the international community, and International Organizations working on environmental issues amongst them, to take all the necessary measures, in order to stop illegal activities of the Russian side that leads the Black Sea and Caucasus regions to the ecological catastrophe.

Tbilisi, 16 February 2010

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