NATO member states once again called on Russia on Monday to reverse Moscow’s decision concerning the recognition of the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
“We continue to call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states,” said a joint declaration issued after the NATO summit in Chicago.
Russia recognized the two breakaway Georgian republics as independent states following a five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August 2008. Nicaragua, Venezuela and the tiny island nations of Nauru and Tuvalu are the only countries to have followed suit, recognizing the two republics, while another Pacific nation, Vanuatu, has recognized only Abkhazia.
“We reiterate our continued support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We welcome Georgia’s full compliance with the EU-mediated cease-fire agreement and other unilateral measures to build confidence. We welcome Georgia’s commitment not to use force and call on Russia to reciprocate,” the declaration added.
The declaration also urged Russia to withdraw its military presence from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, calling them “Georgia’s territory.”
“We continue to be concerned by the build-up of Russia’s military presence on Georgia’s territory and continue to call on Russia to ensure free access for humanitarian assistance and international observers,” the document said.
Last month Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of NATO-striving Georgia, said he would quit immediately if Russia withdrew its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia and even suggested that the deal could be secured by international monitors.
After pro-Western Saakashvili came to power in Georgia in 2004, the South Caucasus state has actively been pushing for entry into NATO to which Russia fiercely opposes. After the brief military conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi in 2008, NATO shelved the idea of bringing Georgia into the alliance.