Ergneti meeting discussed incidents at Georgia’s border villages

The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting in Ergneti. Photo by EUMM, 22 Oct 2014 - 14:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

Conflict resolution participants have discussed humanitarian issues at Georgia’s border-crossing villages along the breakaway Tskhinvali region, which is backed by Russia.

International experts, as well as de-facto authority of Georgia's breakaway region Tskhinvali and representatives of Georgia's central government descended on the Georgian village of Ergneti for the 49th time and discussed issues facing the troubled region, including the cases of detained and missing persons.

The meeting, held under the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), was attended by Georgia’s EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) leader Toivo Klaar, Ambassador Angelo Gnaedinger, the Special Representative of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship for the South Caucasus and representatives of the Interior Ministry of Georgia.

The issue of violations of Georgia’s airspace by Russian planes from Tskhinvali region was also discussed at the meeting, the Interior Ministry’s press office said.

The Ministry said Russian planes flew over Georgian territory after entering from Georgia’s breakaway region of Tskhinvali several times in recent months, which had created threats to the security and stability of locals.

While mulling over the security situation along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL), the sides welcomed the effective use of the Hotline in facilitating information exchange and cooperation between parties.

The Georgian side expressed concern over recent installation of border signs and barbed wire fences at de-facto South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) villages that prevented locals from moving and cultivating their lands at the rural outskirts.

Russian forces recently installed banners in multiple villages in the Kareli region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported. The villages were: Knolevi, Avlevi, Tseronisi, Tamarasheni, Ghogheti, Dirbi and Dvan.

Propaganda banners were also installed in numerous villages in the Gori region, including in Ergneti, Ditsi, Qere, Flavi, Flavismani, Mejvriskhevi, Tsitsagiantkari, and Zemo niqozi.

The EUMM in Georgia reported that serious topics related to the livelihood of local communities, such as movement of cattle across the ABL, were discussed in a constructive atmosphere.

In Ergneti, meeting participants also discussed various issues facing local communities and reviewed the situation regarding electricity and water supply, as well as the pollution of agricultural land.

The IPRM was created in February 2009 as a result of the Geneva Discussions that followed the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict in Georgia. The meetings were an opportunity to identify and discuss potential risks and follow-up of incidents and issues affecting the communities on a daily basis. The meetings were co-facilitated by the OSCE and the EUMM in Georgia.

The next IPRM meeting will take place on 17 November 2014.