Sergey Lavrov not coming to Tbilisi. Council of Europe Ministerial to be held in Strasbourg instead
The issue of the upcoming meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Tbilisi and the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been on the Georgian political agenda for two months.
Today on February 26 during a meeting of the deputy foreign ministers of the Council of Europe countries in Strasbourg, a decision was made for the 130th ministry to be held in May not in Georgia, which is presiding over the Council of Europe for a half-year term, but in Strasbourg itself.
On November 27, 2019, Georgia became the chair of the Council of Europe for half a year. On May 14-15, 2020, a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was to be held in Tbilisi. According to tradition, the Foreign Ministers of the Council of Europe are participating in the ministry. The issue of the arrival in Tbilisi of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, since Russia, along with other states, is a member of the Council of Europe.
The issue is that with the arrival of Lavrov in Georgia, the local law “On Occupied Territories”, adopted after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, was violated.
According to this law, persons visiting the occupied territories (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) without notice and permission of the central authorities of Georgia are placed on the persona non grata list in the rest of the country. And the Russian minister has repeatedly visited both Abkhazia and South Ossetia without notice to Tbilisi.
The opposition and Georgian civil society promised to stage large-scale protests if the country’s authorities were to allow Sergey Lavrov into the country.