Statement to the OSCE Permanent Council
The United States continues to support the Geneva Discussions as an important forum for improving security and humanitarian conditions in Georgia. We urge all of the parties to continue constructive engagement in the Geneva Discussions and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in order to foster agreement on international security arrangements, to enhance confidence-building measures, and to promote both strengthened humanitarian initiatives and a sustainable and peaceful resolution to the conflict.
We continue to call on Russia to abide by its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement and its September 2008 implementing measures, including the withdrawal of Russian troops to positions held prior to the start of hostilities and the facilitation of humanitarian access to the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia.
The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia is a crucial stabilizing factor, and plays a key role in the implementation of the IPRMs. The EUMM also is critical to the international community’s efforts to monitor compliance with the cease-fire and implementing measures. Unfortunately, these efforts cannot be fully realized as long as Russia denies international observers access to the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia.
The United States continues to urge free and unhindered humanitarian access to the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia, as agreed in the August 2008 cease-fire. We call for full respect of all individuals’ human rights in the conflict areas, and for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of internally displaced persons.
In closing, let me reiterate that the United States remains committed to helping Russia and Georgia find a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Georgia, and we will continue to support Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.