The central Georgian government has called upon Russia and the de facto leaderships of the two Georgian occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) to reopen so-called borders with the rest of Georgia, which were closed on 11 January “to avoid the spread of swine flu.”
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani has condemned the step and stated today that the international community and co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions [on Georgian conflict issues] have been informed regarding the closure.
This is a humanitarian issue which restricts a fundamental human right -freedom of movement,” Zalkaliani said.
We are also concerned by the decision of the Russian occupation regime in Tskhinvali to enact new discriminative measures for the residents of the occupied Akhalgori district from February 2019, referring to providing additional movement restrictions for ethnic Georgian population.
Georgian Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili says that the step by the de facto leaderships “leaves many of locals without their daily bread.”
Locals are deprived of the right to buy food and things they need on a daily basis,” Tsikhelashvili said.
Telling picture taken by one of our patrols monitoring situation at Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia. Woman standing in front of main crossing point at Odzisi - closed on 7th consecutive day as a consequence of restrictions in place. pic.twitter.com/Svn2ROm1fj— Erik Hoeg (@erik_hoeg) January 18, 2019
There is no flu epidemic in Georgia and it has been stated many times by the Ministry of Health of Georgia. In the case if there are cases of flu in the occupied regions, we have stated that the Georgian government will provide any necessary help to its citizens in the regions,” Tsikhelashvili said.
Local civic activist living in the Akhalgori occupied area near Tskhinvali, Tamar Mearakishvili has told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Georgia that the Tskhinvali de facto government will reopen the so-called border tomorrow, for only one day, to allow students from the Akhalgori region, who study at different universities in Georgia, to leave the region.
The one-day act will also concern the “public servants of Tskhinvali,” who were in other regions of Georgia when the so-called border was closed and were unable to return back.
It is reported that the so-called border may be closed for one month.