Next Agression from Russia
30 May, 2013
Next Agression from Russia
“The freedom of movement of communities living in areas adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Lines is a key priority for EUMM,” Ambassador Tyszkiewicz said. “The installation of fences impedes people’s livelihood and divides families and communities. This is unacceptable.” Following the recent installation of fences, EUMM has also noted an increase of the presence of security actors from all sides in the areas of Ditsi. As such, this may lead to an escalation rather than a diffusion of a tense
situation.

Following protests against the installation of fences by residents in Ditsi, North West of Gori, representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the South Ossetian de facto authorities and Russian Federation Border Guard services gathered on the spot in the evening of 27 May to discuss the ensuing situation. The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) was present at the meeting upon requests from all participating parties, the official webpage of the European Union Monitoring Mission says.
EUMM Head of Operations returned to the spot on 28 May in order to assess the situation, gather additional information and form an independent opinion ahead of Friday’s Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting, where all parties have determined to discuss this contentious issue.
“EUMM has observed an increase in the construction of fences and obstacles, which has a negative impact on the local population,” said Ambassador Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, the Head of EUMM. “This may prompt frustration and further protest, which could in turn lead to further destabilisation in these sensitive areas.”
Since October 2008, EUMM’s international observers have been patrolling day and night, particularly in areas adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Lines with Abkhazia and South Ossetia to observe the situation on the ground, report on incidents, and, generally, through its presence in the relevant areas, contribute to improving the overall security situation.
Through the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), which consists of a telephone hotline and monthly meetings, the EU Monitoring Mission, together with the OSCE, facilitates discussions amongst all parties in order to address local communities’ problems and to find solutions to allow them to move freely.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Maya Panjikidze, has met with Philip Dimitrov, the Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia. After the meeting, the sides said they had talked about the developments of Shida Kartli region.
According to Philip Dimitrov, the issue, which was discussed at the meeting, is very serious and raises serious questions.
“The issue that we discussed is very serious. It is a fact that there are certain movements on the territory controlled by Georgia. It raises serious questions and we are here to talk about the possible reaction”, said Dimitrov. He said the issue needs to be clear in order to avoid law violations on the ground.
The State Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili commented about violation of the occupation line in the village Ditsi and its vicinity.
The Minister said that unfortunately, it is the continuation of the policy “that we let Russians do in august 2008”. Zakareishvili says that after the new government came in power in Georgia, Russians felt that reconciliation of Georgians and Ossetian started.
“They are doing this first of all against Ossetians. Georgians may have entered 300-400 meters for fruit, jonjoli, fire wood at most and then return. Ossetians used to cross more than 200-300 kilometers to visit Tbilisi, Gori and they traded here, got treatment, studied, Ossetians started to visit the rest of Georgia. This is what Russians are against”, Zakareishvili said.
He says this is a test of Georgian statehood and the pragmatic policy of the Georgian government. “Russia unilaterally and distinctly wants to yield us in emotions, what Saakashvili did and change the politics into emotions. Our task is to preserve peace and protect our citizens”, Zakareishvili said.
He said that he has an initiative to conduct a census of the population who were damaged and issue compensation for them. Zakareishviil states that dignified living conditions must be created for these people, so that these activities of Russia are not painful for the locals.
“Russia has not entered with 300 meters, but with kilometers since august 2008. We are speaking about 200-300 meters today and you want us to declare war with Russia for 200-300 meters? They are crossing the line where they consider they conquered the territory. They want to involve the Georgian government in negotiations on where the border lies. It is totally unacceptable to us, as there is no border on South Ossetian territory. There are only separating lines, we won’t be involved in this game, that Russia benefits”, Zakareishvili said, adding that this is the 200 meters, where Georgians were detained before.
As Zakareishvili said, one of the government’s responses will be to inform the international society.
“We’ll raise this issue on all international tribune, but this is not enough. We have all seen that the world is helpless against Russia’s violent forces. We have not right to wait for when Russia leaves Caucasus. If we are the state, we have to take care of our citizens”, Zakareishvili said.
Georgia will send a note to Russia expressing concern over installation of fences by the Russian troops across the South Ossetian administrative boundary line, Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, said on Monday.
“We will issue a statement and a relevant note will also be sent to the Russian Federation via the Swiss embassy,” Panjikidze told journalists, adding that she will raise the issue when she meets foreign diplomats later this week and the Georgian side will also raise the issue at the next round of Geneva talks planned for June 25-26.
There have been intensified fencing efforts recently by the Russian troops on the ground, installing wire fences across parts of the South Ossetian administrative border, which, the local villagers on the Georgian-controlled areas, say affects negatively on their daily life, hinders their free movement and agricultural activities.
It was reported earlier on May 27 that fencing activities in the vicinity of Ditsi, a village close to the administrative border, resulted into moving of the administrative line deeper into the Georgian-controlled areas with some locals telling journalists that the line was moved by few hundred meters and they will no longer be able to use the land beyond newly installed fences as pasture. Similar activities were also reported in April in another section of the administrative boundary line.
Earlier on May 27 Zurab Chkheidze, the governor of Shida Kartli region, where the village of Ditsi falls, called on the government “to use all the available international levers” against ongoing fencing activities, “otherwise consequences will be grave in the villages” adjacent to the administrative borders.
President Saakashvili raised the issue during an awarding ceremony of the Georgian solders in Tbilisi and said that ongoing fencing activities were “yet another attempt to further move occupation line” deeper into the Georgian-controlled areas; in this context he also briefly mentioned in negative context government-proposed legislative amendments to partially decriminalize and ease sanctions for violation of entry rules into breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
A group of lawmakers from President Saakashvili’s UNM party visited the village on the same day. UNM MP Givi Targamadze, who was in the village, said fencing activities were a result of government’s “unilateral concessions” vis-a-vis Russia. But some locals were criticizing visiting UNM lawmakers telling them that current developments were a result of the policies carried out by UNM while the latter was in power.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement on May 27 that installing fences by the Russian troops was “completely illegal” and that its representative would raise the issue during an upcoming Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting in Ergneti on May 31.
The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said it had been facilitating an exchange of information through telephone hotline about the installation of new fences in the vicinity of Ditsi.
“As freedom of movement is one of EUMM’s key priorities, a patrol has immediately been sent to the spot in order to verify and monitor developments on the ground. The issue is likely to be discussed at the next Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting in Ergneti on 31 May,” EUMM said.

‘Stop the illegal process‘

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on Russia to stop the illegal process of putting up barbed wire along the occupational lines of so-called South Ossetia and Abkhazeti, the ministry says in the statement. 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concern regarding the illegal move by the Russian occupation forces in the villages of Ditsi and Dvani. 
“This is a tough violation of the principles of the international law, first of all it is violation the 12 August ceasefire treaty and the agreement on recognition of territorial integrity of Georgia. Besides, the above-mentioned illegal actions ignore and violate the freedom of movement and other civil social, economic and cultural rights of the population living in the occupied regions. Similar provocative actions cause particular concern in terms of poor state of security and human rights as well as a lack of international mechanisms in the occupied regions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on Russia to stop the illegal process of putting up barbed wire along the occupational lines of so-called South Ossetia and Abkhazeti and to fulfill the 2008 ceasefire treaty’, the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia will provide information about the above-mentioned illegality to international organizations and foreign partners.
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