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Organization for Security and Cooperation

Closure of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Georgia

The United States deplores Russia’s decision effectively to veto a measure supported by all the fifty-five other OSCE participating States to renew the mandate of the Mission to Georgia.

Through persistence and patient diplomacy, the Finnish OSCE Chairmanship forged consensus among fifty-five of the fifty-six OSCE participating States in favor of extending the Mission’s current mandate. In opposition to the rest of the international community, however, Russia has insisted on changing the mandate to be in accord with its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The U.S., EU, and G-7 have all condemned Russia’s recognition of these regions and every other participating State of the OSCE has reaffirmed Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

The OSCE Mission to Georgia has been a valuable contributor to conflict resolution efforts in the Caucasus. The Mission’s monitors have played an invaluable role in promoting military transparency and assessing the humanitarian and human rights situation in the area amid reports of serious violations of minority rights and the forced displacement of civilian populations.

Russia’s decision to block the extension of the mission is difficult to justify, given the ongoing tensions and significant humanitarian concerns in the region. We continue to have serious concerns about lack of access for humanitarian assistance and human rights abuses against vulnerable populations – concerns that an OSCE Mission could address.

We urge Russia to join with all other OSCE members to allow the OSCE mission to carry out its important work in the region.

ENDS

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