August 25, 2008 #2008-004
CONTACT: Salome Salukvadze, +995 95 567 513
"The Kremlin uses the Duma and the Federation Council not as proper legislative bodies, but as propaganda machines. They often have been used to make a signal or a threat," said Ambassador David J. Smith, Director, Georgian Security Analysis Center. "We do not know what will happen—whether Putin will tell Medvedev to accept the resolution," Smith continued.
Today the upper house of Russian Parliament, the Federation Council, voted 130-0 to approve a resolution calling on President Dimitry Medvedev to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent. "But no matter what happens, we should take President Medvedev at his word when he said he is not interested in Georgia´s territorial integrity. This is not only blatant aggression toward Georgia, but also a total disregard of international norms—and the results of this aggression go far beyond Georgia.
“Sham recognition or no, nothing really changes as South Ossetia and Abkhazia are territories of Georgia and the entire world recognizes it. Russian forces occupy them both. And not only these territories are occupied, Russians have arrogated to themselves the right to sit on other pieces of Georgian territory that have nothing to do with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. They have seized so-called buffer zones--Georgian territory outside the conflict zones--so that they can continue to threaten and terrorize from their so-called "checkpoints." Defying the signed cease-fire agreement and the international community, Russian troops are still fortified at illegally opened checkpoints in Poti and they continue destroying and looting the Georgian Coast Guard base. Russian occupiers ask the accreditation of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation to let the journalists work in Poti.
Smith went on to say, "The Port of Poti is not even contiguous with Abkhazia and this is just an occupation and continuing act of aggression. I hope the next American naval ship with the humanitarian aid will arrive at Poti. I hope the President of the United States of America will have the courage and wisdom to order the next ships put into Poti. The President has said that the ports should be open and thus what is now happening in Poti is not the business of Georgia only, but of the USA as well.
“Meanwhile the port of Poti has suffered unfathomable damage and the world has to step up and clear it out. The first step would be to ask the United States Coast Guard to do a port survey."