The 98th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) Meeting was held on March 5 in Ergneti village near the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, some five months after the previous round.
The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), which co-facilitates IPRMs, reported that the Georgian and the Kremlin-backed S. Ossetian authorities discussed, in a “constructive atmosphere,” the “borderization” process along the occupation line, the security situation in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area, the COVID-19 pandemic challenges and “pertinent detention cases.”
The co-facilitators – EUMM Head Marek Szczygieł and OSCE CiO Special Representative for the South Caucasus Annika Söder – “reiterated their serious worries on the deepening socio-economic hardships of the conflict-affected population, which stem from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the crossing points.”
After the meeting, the State Security Service of Georgia said that Tbilisi requested “the unconditional release” of arbitrarily detained Georgian citizens – Zaza Gakheladze, Genadi Bestaev, Lasha Khetereli and Ramaz Begheluri. The Georgian side also discussed the death of Archil Tatunashvili and Davit Basharuli.
- Tskhinvali Sentences Zaza Gakheladze to over 12 Years in Prison
- Tskhinvali Sentences Genadi Bestaev to 3 Years in Prison
Moscow-backed Tskhinvali representative Igor Kochiev claimed at the meeting that armed Georgian police officers “violated the state border,” recently, as reported by S. Ossetian media. Kochiev warned that if such “violations” continue, the Kremlin-backed authorities will “respond accordingly.”
The next 99th IPRM meeting was slated for April 23.