U.S. ‘Very Concerned’ by Developments at Occupation Line

The United States “is very concerned” about the recent developments along the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, “specifically the events in the area of Chorchana.”

Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy Elizabeth Rood said on September 17 that the U.S. calls on “the Russian and South Ossetian sides to take all necessary steps to de-escalate the situation.”

Protesting the construction of the Georgian checkpoint 240 meters away from the occupation line, inside the Tbilisi-administered territory in late August, the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali representatives demanded Tbilisi to immediately remove the checkpoint, threatening use of “all legal measures” at their disposal.

The situation was defused somewhat, as the decision was reached to hold the “technical meeting.” However, following the unanimous denial from Tbilisi to dismantle the checkpoint, in Tit-for-Tat move Tskhinvali started works to “mark the border” in Chorchana-Tsnelisi area, by placing “border signs” and their flag on Tbilisi-controlled territory.

“We call on all parties to use the existing mechanisms through the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), the hotline and so forth, to ensure that the situation remains calm and stable,” Rood stated.

She then added that the U.S. is also “deeply concerned” about the closure of crossing points on the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region, which is “causing very severe humanitarian consequences for the residents of the region.”

The U.S. calls on:

  • the Russian Federation to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions;
  • “the de facto South Ossetian authorities to reopen” the crossing points “immediately.”
Two crossing points at the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region – Odzisi and Sinaguri – have remained closed since 20:00 on 4 September 2019, according to EUMM.

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