EU High Representative welcomes Georgian plan for Abkhazia and South Ossetia

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has welcomed the adoption by the Georgian government of the Action Plan for Engagement for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument’s website (ENPI) said.

In a statement, she said she was “encouraged by the constructive proposals in the Plan”, adding it represented “a significant step forward towards a policy of engagement with the populations living in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia” – a “prerequisite for finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict”.

The updated staff of the Georgian government approved the Action Plan of the state strategy for South Ossetia and Abkhazia at its first meeting on Saturday.

The Action Plan covers the specific mechanisms that are required for the state strategy not to remain only ideas on paper, Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili said earlier.

Intensification of the activity on four main areas is envisaged.

This is the humanitarian sphere, the human sphere, which covers human relations with both parties in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is a social sector, focusing mainly on education, health and environmental protection and economic spheres, including trade and business, he said.

In Ashton’s words, the Action Plan should create “a permissive and enabling environment, including for international organizations and NGOs active in conflict resolution.”

The High Representative said the EU was ready to contribute to these efforts “in line with its non-recognition and engagement policy” and fully backed “the approach based on confidence building and facilitation of people to people contacts as well as freedom of movement.”

Catherine Ashton reiterated the EU’s firm support for the security and stability of Georgia, “based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognized by international law.”

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