Open letter of Latvian NGOs to the Ambassadors of the EU and NATO member countries to Latvia

07.08.2009. 14:10

Your Excellencies,

This Friday it will be one year since Russia started military aggression on Georgian territory. Twenty percent of the internationally recognised Georgian territory still remains occupied by several thousand of Russian troops. As a result of the August 2008 war there are still around 35 thousand Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Georgia who cannot return to their homes because they are located on the Russian occupied territories. Besides, large part of their homes has been deliberately destroyed during and after the war. The inhabitants of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and bordering territories regularly suffer from attacks and human rights violations, making them live in fear of resumption of hostilities.

Believing that we – EU and NATO member states – are responsible for the stabilization of the situation within Georgia, we call upon the EU and NATO member states’ governments, including Latvian government, not to forget about the legal binds that Russia has voluntarily undertaken by signing the Six Point Cease Fire Agreement with the EU and Georgia. This agreement prescribes withdrawal of Russian military forces to their pre-war positions. Because the Agreement is not being fulfilled, the situation in Georgia is becoming tenser by day which raises the threat of eruption of a new military conflict. Also the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) which was created as a follow-up action to the Six Point Cease Fire Agreement’s point 5 and should be able to perform conflict prevention and stabilization tasks within the whole territory of Georgia including Russian occupied territories, are repeatedly being denied access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

We are asking EU and NATO member governments to raise these issues not only in the framework of EU-Russia and NATO-Russia dialogues but also in bilateral talks with Russia. Russian army must leave Georgian territory and the IDPs should be given a chance to return to their homes under the surveillance of a strong international monitoring mission.

Apart from the political support, the practical help is also very important for Georgia. It is important that we don’t forget our promises which EU countries gave last October by agreeing to give over 3 billion euros to Georgia in aid. Also any other form of support is significant; therefore we have called upon the Latvian society to choose Georgian goods.

We kindly ask you to pass this message on to your respective governments and hope they will be supportive in showing solidarity to Georgia at this very difficult time.

Sincerely,

Coalition of Latvian non-governmental organisations:

Association of YWCA/YMCA of Latvia

Baltic to Black Sea Alliance

European Movement – Latvia

Georgian society in Latvia „Samshoblo”

Latvian – Georgian Foundation for Mutual Cooperation

Latvian Conservative Youth Union

Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS)

Latvian Red Cross

Latvian Transatlantic Organisation

Latvian Transatlantic Youth Club