On October 30, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani released a statement over the death of Margo Martiashvili, who passed away after a delayed transfer to Tskhinvali hospital from Ikoti village of occupied Akhalgori Municipality.
“Humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories is one of the main challenges [for Georgia],” Minister Zalkaliani said, noting that it is “categorically unacceptable” that people wake up behind barbed wire fences, and are deprived of the right to freedom of movement.
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FM Zalkaliani stated that Georgia has informed the international community over the human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied regions. He also noted that Georgian authorities are in constant communication with the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions (GIDs).
According to Minister Zalkaliani, the situation in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions was also raised at the meeting with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo earlier this week.
“It is necessary that the international community, all the actors who are engaged in the Geneva format, co-chairs, the OSCE, the European Union, the United Nations, as well as the United States, which is our main strategic partner, make special emphasize on this issue,” Zalkaliani stated.
Following yesterday’s statement of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) on Martiashvili’s death, the Mission Head Erik Høeg also wrote on his official Twitter page that the closure of the main crossing point to Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia for almost two months, affects “livelihoods and access to medical care for Akhalgori population.”
Toivo Klaar, the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, who also serves as one of the GID co-chairs, tweeted about the death of Martiashvili as well. “Deeply concerned about continuing closure of crossing points and my sincere condolences go to the family of Ms Martiashvili. The local population is being punished again and again,” Klaar stated.
The emergency vehicle from Tskhinvali had to travel three hours, whereas it would have taken just 45 minutes to reach Tbilisi. However, following Chorchana police checkpoint crisis, Tskhinvali authorities had closed off the crossings across the line of occupation since early September, making it impossible for Akhalgori dwellers to travel to Georgia proper.
Ethnic Georgians make up more than half of the population of occupied Akhalgori Municipality.
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