The 105th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRM) meeting took place today in Ergneti village near the occupation line of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), co-facilitating the meeting together with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said the parties primarily focused on ongoing arbitrary detention cases, “borderization” and the situation in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area.
The participants also discussed the impact protracted closures of crossing points and the COVID-19 pandemic had on local communities.
According to the statement, Head of the EUMM, Ambassador Marek Szczygieł urged the participants to refrain from actions that might negatively affect the stability and security along the dividing line “in the current geopolitical situation.”
He also encouraged the sides to use the EUMM-operated hotline to address concerns and provide early warnings about planned activities.
Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus, Ambassador Viorel Moşanu, on his part, urged the sides to pay attention to improving the everyday lives of the local population.
The co-facilitators also expressed concern over the recently increased number of detentions, called for a humanitarian approach to the detention cases, and advocated for allowing the conflict-affected population to access religious sites and graveyards during the upcoming Easter holidays.
Irakli Antadze of the State Security Service said the release of the six arbitrarily detained Georgian citizens remained the top priority for Tbilisi.
According to Antadze, Vladimer Kaniashvili and Kakhaber Natadze — both detained on December 10 — have been sentenced to six months and three years and six months in Tskhinvali prison, respectively.
Meanwhile, the SSG official said Mamuka Chkhikvadze, former Georgian serviceman, awaits a sentence on March 9.
Antadze asserted that Tbilisi, with the support of international partners, is doing everything “so that they return to their families.”
He also noted that Moscow-backed Tskhinvali representatives confirmed in the meeting that “they are not interested in creating additional tensions” and that situation along the dividing line has not worsened.
Moscow-backed Tskhinvali representative Igor Kochiev on his part told Tskhinvali-based RES news agency that he raised the issue of the Georgian police checkpoint in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area, dubbing it “a factor of destabilization and tension.”
He claimed the Tskhinvali authorities proposed to open the Odzisi/Mosabruni crossing point with ethnic Georgian majority Akhalgori district if Tbilisi removes the police post.
Tskhinvali closed the crossing point in September 2019, in response to the construction of the said police checkpoint.
The next IPRM meeting is set to take place on 12 April 2022.
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