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OSCE Chair Concerned over S.Ossetia Tensions

Tbilisi, Tskhinvali Blamed for “Unwillingness” to Solve Problems

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, said on July 2 he was “deeply concerned” about “worrying new developments” in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

There have been casualties, both Georgian and Ossetian police officers included, in recent days, according to the OSCE. Targeted sniper fire has been used.

“The deliberate targeting of individuals is totally unacceptable and must cease immediately,” Minister Moratinos said.

“All conflict resolution mechanisms should be used to the full, and there must be dialogue and compromise,” he added.

Problems with potable and irrigation water supply have been at the heart of recent tension.

“The tension increases with the continuing unwillingness of both sides to find a speedy resolution to the problems concerning the population such as the drinking and irrigation water supply,” the OSCE press release reads.

Local Georgians in the conflict zone are continuing a protest rally, involving the blockade of the main road leading to the breakaway region”s capital, Tskhinvali.

They are demanding that Tskhinvali resume irrigation water supply to the Georgian villages of the conflict zone.

The protesters seem prepared for the long haul, erecting tents in the village of Ergneti at the administrative border with the breakaway region and deliberately damaging the road to prevent vehicles from passing the picket.

Secessionist authorities in Tskhinvali suspended irrigation water supply to the Georgian villages in early June in retaliation for the suspension of potable water supply to Tskhinvali.

The breakaway region”s capital has had its supply restored after the Georgian side repaired the damaged pipeline in mid-June, according to Tbilisi, but the South Ossetian side has refused to reciprocate.

The South Ossetian side, however, claims that insufficient water is running in the pipeline and as a result Tskhinvali still suffers from a shortage of water.

Officials in Tbilisi contend that the South Ossetian side itself is not supplying the pipeline with sufficient water from a sluice located in the South Ossetian stronghold of Java.

Tbilisi is proposing a joint monitoring of the entire pipeline running from Java to Tskhinvali, crossing the Georgian villages in the middle of the route.

Java is located in the north of the breakaway region, outside the officially recognized borders of the conflict zone – an area within a 15-km radius of Tskhinvali. OSCE observers are not entitled to carry out any monitoring beyond this 15-km radius.

Tskhinvali has refused to give access to international monitors, and particularly to Georgian officials, to Java.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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