Situation in Georgia: Motion

I move:

That Seanad Éireann:

- reaffirms Ireland’s unwavering support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders;

- expresses concern that 10 years after the Russia-Georgia war, the occupation of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation still continues and the security, human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground further deteriorates, people in the occupied territories are deprived of basic rights and freedoms, such as the right to life, the right to residence and property, freedom of movement, education in the native language; and further, that Georgians remaining in the occupied regions are subject to ethnic discrimination and ethnically targeted violence;

- welcomes the adoption of the Tatunashvili-Otkhozoria Sanctions List by the Government of Georgia and calls upon the Irish Government to impose the restrictive measures on the individuals included in the list with the aim to end impunity and prevent further aggravation of the human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied regions;

- reaffirms its unwavering support to the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and expresses readiness to further continue Ireland’s valuable contribution to the EUMM; and 10 years after launching the Geneva International Discussions reaffirms Ireland’s strong support to this important format designed to address the security and humanitarian challenges stemming from the Russia-Georgia conflict;

- underlines the utmost need for tangible results on core issues of negotiations, including the non-use of force, establishment of the international security mechanisms in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and the safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees expelled from their homes through the numerous waves of ethnic cleansing, with the aim to achieve lasting peace and security on the ground;

- emphasises the necessity of full implementation of the EU-mediated Ceasefire Agreement by Russia, of 12th August, 2008;

- supports the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Gali and Ergneti and encourages the participants to engage in good faith in order to find proper solutions for the safety and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population;

- welcomes the policy of the Government of Georgia towards the peaceful conflict resolution based on the fundamental principles of international law, which is directed towards the de-occupation of Georgian regions, on the one hand, and reconciliation and confidence building between divided communities, on the other hand;

- supports Georgia’s new peace initiative ‘A Step to a Better Future’ aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and at fostering people-to-people contacts, confidence building and reconciliation among the divided communities;

- reconfirms its unwavering support to the non-recognition policy towards the occupied territories of Georgia;

- welcomes the growth of political relations and cooperation in a variety of fields between Ireland and Georgia, including intensifying inter-parliamentary cooperation;

- encourages further development of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation between Ireland and Georgia for mutual benefit;

- commends the people and Government of Georgia for their successful reforms in recent years towards consolidating democracy, ensuring human rights protection, rule of law, media freedom and good governance as well as strengthening government transparency and judicial independence;

- welcomes Georgia’s substantial progress on its EU integration path, including successful implementation of the Association Agreement, and reaffirms its strong support to this process; and notes that the abolition of the visa requirements for Georgian citizens stands out as an important milestone achieved on the EU-Georgia cooperation agenda;

- recommends that Ireland and Georgia should continue close cooperation with the aim to further deepen Georgian-Irish partnership, both in bilateral and multilateral formats, and work together towards an open Europe of unity and solidarity, to contribute to global peace and security.

I thank the Leader and the leaders of the various political groups for unanimously accepting this motion. I was part of a delegation, led by the Cathaoirleach, to Georgia last year, and I was very impressed with the country and its people. Unlike the Leader of the House I did get to witness at first hand the border area. It was heart-wrenching to see families divided by barbed wire. In many instances they can only communicate through that barbed wire. I want to commend everybody for their support. I especially acknowledge the participation of a number of Irish people in the EU permanent representative body that is in the country and monitoring the situation on a daily basis. I commend them on their work and hope this motion will play some small part in reuniting Georgia in the not-too-distant future.

I thank the Leader again, and I thank the group leaders in this House for their support for this motion.

I neglected to include the Cathaoirleach’s involvement and participation in the trip to Georgia.

Question put and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 12.10 p.m. and resumed at 12.50 p.m.