Joint Communique by Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland commemorating the decade since the Russian aggression against Georgia
1. We, the representatives of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, have come to Georgia to commemorate the 10thanniversary of the Russian military aggression against Georgia and reaffirm our unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
2. Ten years ago leaders of our countries travelled to Georgia, a European state whose sovereignty was being brutally violated by Russia, to stand together with its people.
3. Our commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law as well as our respect for the rights of each individual and for every country’s sovereign choice is as firm as it was ten years ago. We reiterate that all states, including Georgia, have the right to freely determine their foreign policy and their alliances. The times of limited sovereignty are over in Europe, but consistency and firmness are required to protect these values and principles from those who challenge them, sparing no effort to bring the notion of the ‘spheres of influence’ back.
4. Revisionist powers are not easy to satisfy, and even more difficult to rely on. Ten years ago, on their journey to Georgia, our leaders had stopped in Crimea, Ukraine. Today the repetition of this route was not possible because of the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by Russia.
5. Ten years after the Russian military aggression against Georgia, Russia still has not implemented its commitments towards Georgia, as agreed under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Consequently, Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia are still de facto occupied by Russia and the creeping annexation of these regions continues. Fences, signifying the so called ‘border’, are being erected, and the movement of Georgian people within their country is being impeded. Quasi ‘agreements’ are being drafted and signed between Russia and the occupied Georgian regions, aimed at further integrating them into Russia’s economic, social, and military life. Artificial ‘recognitions’ of their ‘independence’ and the ‘establishment of diplomatic relations’ between them and Kremlin’s proxies are still being orchestrated by Russia. We deplore these efforts and will never recognize their consequences. The human rights situation in these regions continues to deteriorate; ethnic Georgians are being discriminated and their cultural heritage traces are being erased.
6. Therefore we continue to call on Russia to reverse its illegal recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions, to fully implement the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, to engage in a constructive manner into the process of Geneva International Discussions (GID), and to enable access by the European Union Monitoring Mission and the international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the occupied territories of Georgia.
7. We welcome the fact that Georgian people continue to demonstrate strong faith and trust in the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We reaffirm our strong support for Georgia’s sovereign choice to pursue the ultimate goal of membership in the EU and NATO. Even with the occupation of 20 percent of its territory, Georgia has made very significant progress in implementing reforms and has become a reliable and exemplary partner of both the EU and NATO.
8. In 2008 NATO - Georgia Commission was established. Since then the mutually beneficial cooperation has reached an unprecedented level. We welcome Georgia’s contributions to the Alliance’s training mission in Afghanistan and the NATO Response Force. We acknowledge that the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package is bolstering Georgia’s defense reforms, including with the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre.
9. We reaffirm that NATO remains the cornerstone of our security and collective defence, and that our countries stand firm in solidarity, committed to develop our cooperation to address better all security concerns and contribute to the Alliance's tasks. In this context, we welcome the NATO Brussels Summit Declaration (11 July 2018), by which all 29 Allies reconfirmed that Georgia will become a member of NATO.
10. We acknowledge with satisfaction that the euro-integration related reforms have consolidated Georgia’s position of a strategic partner of the EU in the region, and of a front-runner within the Eastern Partnership, among countries who have concluded the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and enjoy visa liberalization regime. The euro integration process continues to strengthen Georgian democratic institutions, economy and civil society. We reaffirm our continued commitment to Georgia's political association and economic integration with the EU. We reiterate our readiness for close cooperation with the Georgian Government in order to further advance the EU-Georgia bilateral agenda and objectives.
11. By commemorating the 10 years since the Russian aggression against Georgia, which has significantly impeded Georgia’s economic development, we continue to call on the international community to stand united in supporting Georgia and to continue to demand that Russia fully and without any further delay implements its international commitments and starts honouring international law and the right of sovereign neighbouring states to choose their own destiny.