The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep concern” over the suspension of the 89th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Ergneti village close to the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
In a statement released on September 19, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said the Georgian participants insisted on adding “politically-motivated” items to the IPRM meeting agenda on September 14.
According to Zakharova, Tbilisi’s proposals, as well as the recent arrest warrant issued against two South Ossetian security officers, were “unacceptable” for Tskhinvali representatives, which “forced” them to leave the meeting.
The spokesperson added that Tbilisi’s “confrontational steps” have already led to the suspension of similar meetings in Abkhazia. “The course of Tbilisi to politicize IPRM poses a threat to blocking of this useful format, established for finding practical solutions to security issues in the borderline areas.”
Zakharova then welcomed Tskhinvali’s decision “not to refuse further participation,” but called on the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions to demonstrate their “principled position” and ensure that the format “gets back to normal.”
Tskhinvali participants’ left the IPRM meeting on September 14 “in protest” to the Interpol’s arrest warrant issued against two South Ossetian security officers over the murder of Archil Tatunashvili. They insist charges against Davit Gurtsiev and Alik Taboev are fabricated and accuse the Georgian authorities of “destructive position.”