“The ongoing closure of crossing points on the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia is creating additional hardship for the local people and is further raising tensions”, reads September 15 statement of the Co-Chairs of Geneva International Discussions (GID).
The Co-Chairs noted that they are “in contact with all relevant actors, urging them to abstain from taking unilateral steps that have negative humanitarian consequences for conflict-affected people and undermine stability on the ground.” They also called on all participants in the GID “to engage constructively within the existing security and dialogue mechanisms and to search for solutions to all issues of concern.”
The Co-Chairs then emphasized that “it is in this respect essential that conflict-affected people are not subjected to additional hardship and that their human rights, including freedom of movement, are fully respected.” “We intend to discuss this and other worrying developments further during our upcoming consultations”, they noted.
The Geneva International Discussions (GID), the multilateral mediation forum to address security and humanitarian consequences of the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008, are co-chaired by the representatives of the OSCE, the European Union and the United Nations, and involve representatives from Georgia, Russia and the United States, as well as members of both the Georgian exiled administrations of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and the two regions’ Russian-backed authorities.
The security service (KGB) of the Moscow-backed authorities of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia announced on September 3 that all the crossing points connecting the region to the rest of the Georgia will be closed in relation to the upcoming celebrations of the “Day of Knowledge.”
Later on September 9 Tskhinvali KGB announced that two crossing points – Mosabruni (“Razdakhani” in Ossetian) of Akhalgori Municipality and Sinaguri of Sachkhere Municipality – connecting the region with the rest of Georgia will be closed temporarily, citing tensions coming from Tbilisi. It also noted that the crossing points will be opened as soon as “the situation returns back to normal.”
According to the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), there are five crossing points in the region – in villages Sinaguri (Sachkhere district), Karzmani (Sachkhere district), Zardiantkari (Gori district), Ergneti (Gori district) and Odzisi (Mtskheta district). The latter serves residents of occupied Akhalgori Municipality, and is usually used by 400 persons daily.