Russsia condemned over Georgia occupation

September 15, 2008 8:31 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats today called on Britain to push for a strong EU response to the Georgian conflict, including the possibility of sanctions if Russian aggression continues.

An emergency motion introduced by the party's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Edward Davey - Condemns Russia's invasion and occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and its unilateral recognition of their independence Calls for Russia to withdraw its forces from all parts of Georgia to their 7 August positions Calls for any further Russian aggression to be met with targeted sanctions such as visa restrictions Proposes that the prospect of NATO membership be held open to Georgia and Ukraine, but only when existing territorial disputes have been resolved and NATO countries can credibly deliver on their defence guarantees

Text of the motion in full as passed (unamended) -

International Response to the Conflict in Georgia

Mover: Edward Davey MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary)

Summation: Lord Wallace (House of Lords Foreign Affairs Spokesperson)

Conference notes that:

A) Conflict over the disputed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke out between Russia and Georgia on August 7, 2008, leading to loss of human life, displacement of persons and widespread material damage.

B) The immediate cause of the conflict is disputed, but in the absence of a lasting settlement for South Ossetia and Abkhazia, tension had risen considerably and Russia used military force to take full control of the regions.

C) The European Union has condemned as 'unacceptable' Russia's military action and unilateral recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and demanded that Russia withdraw its forces to their positions prior to 7 August, 2008.

D) A NATO Declaration of 3 April, 2008 stated that Ukraine and Georgia 'will become members of NATO' and that NATO supports their applications for Membership Action Plans.

E) Georgia has taken Russia to the International Court of Justice over alleged crimes perpetrated by South Ossetian militias, including the looting and destruction of ethnic Georgian villages.

F) The EU and Russia have highly interdependent economies, with the EU importing significant amounts of Russian natural gas and the Russian economy being highly dependent on such exports.

Conference believes that:

i. Russia's invasion and occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and its unilateral recognition of their independence must be condemned without qualification.

ii. Relations between European states must be founded on respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence under international law, and accordingly Georgia and Ukraine should be free to apply for membership of international organisations, including the EU and NATO.

iii. NATO's post-Cold War mission needs greater clarification and Russia's concerns over the extension of NATO membership should be given due regard.

iv. Given the gravity of its mutual defence principle, NATO must not rush the membership process for Ukraine and Georgia as that would mean giving security guarantees that are not currently credible in military terms and under conditions where there are serious, unresolved territorial disputes, as in the case of Georgia.

v. A lasting solution to the disputes over South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be undertaken through dialogue and negotiation and neutral peacekeepers should form part of the first steps to facilitate such talks.

vi. Dialogue and co-operation between Russia, NATO and the EU is necessary on many issues of vital common interest such as nuclear arms reductions talks, the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan and the stand-off with Iran.

Conference calls on:

1. The British government to:

a) Continue to press for a strong and unified EU response to Russian aggression, but to desist from unhelpful Cold War rhetoric and commitments that cannot currently be credibly given by NATO.

b) Consider, if Russia undertakes further aggression in the region, targeted sanctions such as visa restrictions.

2. NATO to:

a) Continue to hold open the prospect of membership action plans to Georgia and Ukraine, but to make clear to any prospective member that full membership will only be possible when existing significant territorial disputes have been resolved and NATO countries can credibly deliver on their defence guarantees.

b) Continue to engage with Russia over issues of common interest such as nuclear arms reduction, reconstruction in Afghanistan and the stand-off with Iran.

3. The European Union to:

a) Remain resolute and unified in its dealings with Russia, but to continue to aim for dialogue and cooperation, particularly over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

b) Resist bilateral energy deals with Russia that undermine wider European energy solidarity and redouble efforts to found a truly common energy policy, based on properly functioning markets, diversity of supply and solidarity between member states.

4. Russia to:

a) Withdraw its forces from all parts of Georgia to their 7 August positions as set out under the agreement brokered by President Sarkozy of France.

b) Investigate all allegations of war crimes committed by South Ossetian militias.