Author: Nino Macharashvili


On June 4, 2024, the UN General Assembly in New York, within the framework of the 78th session, voted for the resolution initiated by Georgia and 63 other states – “About the status of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from Abkhazia (Georgia) and Tskhinvali region/so-called South Ossetia (Georgia)”.

The resolution has been put to the vote every year since 2008 (from 2008 with respect to Abkhazia, and from 2009 additionally with respect to the Tskhinvali region). In 2024, the right of IDPs from the occupied regions of Georgia to return to their homes was confirmed by the General Assembly with a record number of votes – 103 votes (see Figure 1).Although the number of opponents of the resolution did not change (9 opponents), the number of supporters increased (by three). For the first time in history, in the 16 years since the

 adoption of the resolution, Armenia, Argentina and the Republic of South Africa supported it. In Georgia, a particularly positive response followed the change in Armenia’s position.

In this blog, I will briefly introduce you to the political factors that led to support for the resolution by Armenia, Argentina and the Republic of South Africa.

(Figure I)


Armenia’s position regarding the resolution has changed several times.

  • Until 2019, Armenia voted against the resolution every year. As the community of Armenia explained, this could not be considered an “un-Georgian step,” and Armenia was never against the return of former IDPs and refugees.Armenia was simply worried about the 8th paragraph of the resolution, according to which the UN General Assembly requests not only support for the resolution on the return of displaced persons, but also support for the biased interpretation of the conflicts in the GUAM area (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova). Armenia thought that if it supported the resolution on the return of IDPs, it would indirectly support the Azerbaijani interpretation of the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict, and therefore, it would pave the way for the return of Azerbaijani IDPs to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Apart from this stated argument, Armenia’s position was significantly determined by the pro-Russian policy that the country’s leaders had been implementing. Russia, of course, remains among the opponents of the resolution, and other pro-Russian states (for example, Belarus) are also included in this list.

  • In 2019, Armenia changed its policy and began abstaining from voting, which it continued until 2023. The change in politics coincides with the election of the pro-Western politician Nikol Pashinyan as the Prime Minister of Armenia, who, in parallel with the transformation of the Karabakh conflict and the war in Ukraine, gradually changed Armenia’s traditional pro-Russian policy towards a multi-vector policy. Moreover, today, Yerevan clearly expresses its desire to integrate with the West. Pashinyan’s policy made it clear that voting against the resolution in previous cases was due to approval of Russia more than a conflict with the 8th paragraph.
  • In 2024, Armenia changed its position once again, and this time supported the resolution on the return of IDPs for the first time. All this can be attributed to the 2020 Karabakh War, and even more to the occupation of the remainder of the region by Azerbaijan in 2023. As a result of military operations, the Armenian population of Karabakh was forced to leave their homes. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced a few months ago that the return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their homes will begin from September. Accordingly, the argument according to which Armenia opposed the resolution no longer exists. Moreover, it may even have to initiate a similar resolution itself to return ethnic Armenians to their homes on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

At the same time, we should not forget that the relations between Georgia and Armenia have warmed. In January 2024, during Nikol Pashinyan’s official visit to Tbilisi, the officials of the two states signed an agreement on strategic partnership.


Unlike Armenia, Argentina always took part in the elections, but refrained from voting. It, like Armenia, supported the resolution for the first time in 2024. Davit Bakradze, Ambassador of Georgia to the United Nations, posits the receipt of support from Argentina is the merit of the successful visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili, to Latin America. Indeed, during his visit to Argentina, Darchiashvili met several high-ranking officials, including the Vice-President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Vice-President of the Parliament. Due to the acute security environment in the region, the representatives of Argentina even pledged their firm support for the sovereignty and integrity of Georgia. However, in reality, the change in the position of Buenos Aires in favor of Georgia is not related to Darchiashvili’s visit, but to the ongoing geopolitical changes in Argentina.

In November 2023, the radical right-wing professor Javier Millay became the president of Argentina. Even during the political campaign, he was clearly distinguished by his criticism of “communist regimes”, including China and the Russian Federation. After the election of Millay as president, the foreign political vector of Argentina turned towards the West. Millay expressed strong support for Ukraine and, shortly after being elected president, refused to allow Argentina to join BRICS (which, prior to the elections, was almost a foregone conclusion). Supporting the IDP resolution can be seen as another step against Russia.

Republic of South Africa

In previous years, the Republic of South Africa either did not vote at all, or abstained from voting. This year, itchanged its policy and supported the resolution on the return of IDPs.

Bakradze has not commented on the change in South Africa’s position, and indeed there is no clear, solid argument that could explain Pretoria’s support.

Within the framework of international policy, Georgia also cooperates with African countries. The year 2022 was especially important for the rapprochement of relations between Georgia and the Republic of South Africa, in particular, Nikoloz Samkharadze, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament, visited the Republic of South Africa with a delegation, and gave a report on the security of the Black Sea to one of the leading analytical centers. Moreover, in October of the same year, the 5th round of political consultations was held between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and South Africa. However, it is difficult to say that after just two years, the support for the resolution from the Republic of South Africa was determined by the events of 2022, especially considering that South Africa is a member of BRICS and is a state friendly towards Russia.

We must not forget that South African officials did not view the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the same way as their Western counterparts. In addition, the Republic of South Africa refused to join the Western coalition against Russia, and refrained from supporting all those resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly which condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, in May 2023, US Ambassador Reuben Briget accused Pretoria of supplying arms to Moscow, causing lasting damage to US-South Africa relations. Although the accusation could not be proven after investigation, the division between the two states remains because of the war in Ukraine.

It was after these events that South Africa tried to change the perception that it supports Russia, and, in July 2023, it led a peace delegation of seven African states to Ukraine and Russia. The delegation was unsuccessful, but with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement that any post-war settlement must protect the territorial integrity of both states, it became clear that Pretoria had changed its position somewhat.

Therefore, support for the resolution may be South Africa’s attempt to show Western leaders that South Africa is not at all pro-Russian, and seeks to restore the relations it had before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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In summary, it can be said that any state’s support for the UN resolution on the return of IDPs and refugees to Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region is only welcome. However, as it becomes clear from the discussion above, the change in the position of Armenia, Argentina and the Republic of South Africa was more due to their political course, specifically, the change in their relationship with Russia (Armenia, Argentina) or the creation of the illusion of change (Republic of South Africa).

It should be noted here that the response in Georgia not only increased support for the resolution; public criticism followed the revelation of China’s position, which abstained from voting for the resolution, as it had done before. The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, thanked China for maintaining the position previously held, and the Speaker of Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, noted that in this case, “restraint is equal to support”. Yet, according to the analysts, this action of China further strengthened the suspicion that was raised by the agreement on the establishment of strategic partnership between Georgia and China, and according to which China does not recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.