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Russian deputy reminds Georgia of its legal obligations to Ajaria

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  • Russian deputy reminds Georgia of its legal obligations to Ajaria

    Russian deputy reminds Georgia of its legal obligations to Ajaria

    ITAR-TASS news agency
    22 Mar 04

    Moscow, 22 March: Chairman of the State Duma Committee on
    International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev expressed satisfaction today
    that the conflict between Georgia and Ajaria "is returning from the
    hot phase to, at least, cold phase and is possibly even moving towards
    a peaceful settlement."

    At the same time, the deputy stressed that the only regulatory
    statute, the Kars Treaty of 1921, which stipulates Ajaria as being an
    autonomous republic within Georgia, is still in force and its
    provisions must be honoured. The treaty on friendship between Turkey,
    on the one hand, and Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, on the other,
    with the participation of Russia, was signed in 1921.

    Kosachev expressed concern over the treaty's various interpretations
    of late, "starting from statements by several official representatives
    that it [treaty] is no longer in force down to statements by Turkish
    representatives that it gives Turkey the right to use military force
    if the legal status of Ajaria is violated". All these statements are
    legally wrong, the deputy reckons.

    The Kars Treaty, he stressed, continues to be in force since it was
    concluded indefinitely. Moreover, the Potsdam Conference documents,
    establishing the principle of the world's post-war arrangement, make
    references to it. And, finally, there is the definitive position of
    the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which stipulates
    that if a treaty regulates borders, there can be no references to
    changed international circumstances [presumably: as reasons for
    varying the treaty provisions].

    Kosachev also recalled that under the Kars Treaty, Turkey renounced
    its claims on Ajaria; Ajaria reappeared within Georgia as an autonomy
    on two conditions. Firstly, Georgia commits itself to provide Ajaria
    with full-scale autonomy - cultural, religious, national - up to the
    granting of the right to adopt its own laws. Secondly, Georgia commits
    itself to ensure unimpeded transit through the seaport of
    Batumi. These two conditions, Kosachev emphasized, continue to be in
    force along with the Treaty as a whole.

    "Thus, the steps recently taken by Georgia to resolve the conflict
    with Ajaria through the use of force, and in particular through
    blockading the seaport of Batumi, are in direct conflict with the
    law", he concluded.