On July 30, the 96th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) Meeting was held in village Ergneti, near the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
IPRMs in Ergneti have been stalled since late August, when Tskhinvali representatives, angered by Tbilisi’s construction of a police checkpoint in village Chorchana near the dividing line, disrupted the 95th meeting.
The meeting came amid the backdrop of 11-months-long closure of crossing points connecting Tskhinvali region to Georgia proper and Moscow-backed Ossetian authorities’ increased bio-warfare allegations against Tbilisi.
96th IPRM meeting, co-facilitated by @EUMM and @OSCE has just ended in Ergneti. The co-facilitators welcomed the participants’ commitment to continue regular meetings in the format. The next meeting was agreed to be held on September 24. pic.twitter.com/FL8keD9DIh
— EUMM.Georgia (@EUMMGeorgia) July 30, 2020
Detention of Georgian citizens – Zaza Gakheladze, Khvicha Mghebrishvili and Genadi Bestaev – by the occupied Tskhinvali authorities, “borderization” across the occupation line, continued closure of the crossing points, security incidents, including alleged airspace violations and the issue of Chorchana checkpoint, as well as the death of Archil Tatunashvili and Davit Basharuli were discussed at today’s 6-hours-long meeting.
The Georgian State Security Service reported that Tbilisi requested immediate, unconditional release of the detained Georgian citizens.
Igor Kochiev, who spoke on behalf of the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali leader, Anatoly Bibilov, raised the issue of alleged airspace violations.
Noting that no progress was reached regarding Chorchana checkpoint, Kochiev noted that “in the end, this issue will be resolved through peaceful negotiations.”
New Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), Marek Szczygieł, and Special Representative for the South Caucasus of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Rudolf Michalka, co-facilitated the meeting today.
Noting that the meeting took place in a “positive atmosphere,” the co-facilitators “called on the participants to continue using the IPRM format for discussing a range of important practical issues.”
They expressed hope for “further constructive and co-operative steps towards improving human security in local communities and maintaining general stability on the ground.”
Ambassador Szczygieł and Ambassador Michalka announced about preparations for the 96th IPRM meeting on July 21.
The next 97th IPRM is scheduled for September 24.