Georgian border guards have refused passage to trucks loaded with tires headed for the conflict area of Nagorno-Karabakh via the Georgian-Armenian border late in the evening of September 28.
Ethnic Armenians living in Georgia’s southern districts of Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda told TV Pirveli today that they began collecting tires, food and medicine in order to help Armenian soldiers fighting in the ongoing military conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh.
Locals had a verbal dispute with border guards when the trucks were not allowed through, and saying soldiers would use tires to set up trenches in order to protect themselves. Locals also told TV Pirveli that trucks loaded with potatoes and other products were not turned back at the state border, though Georgia did not allow the tires into Armenia.
We were told that the Georgian side does not allow us to send tires and it may take them two days to make a decision…I do not know why ethnic Armenians have been refused to do so. Probably tires are considered weapons which may be used during the conflict," one local from Ninotsminda told TV Pirveli.
Heavy fighting in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh broke out on September 27, killing at least 80 people, including civilians.
TV Pirveli reported that there are special points in Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda where locals are collecting products, medicines and tires to be sent to Armenia.
Responding to the issue, Georgian Parliament’s Defence Issues Committee head Irakli Sesiashvili has stated that peace and stability in the region is in the interest of Georgia.
Sesiashvili also noted that Georgia has a neutral position regarding the conflict for obvious reasons, as ‘the country has excellent neighborly relations with both conflict sides, Azerbaijan and Armenia’.
Both states respect our position. The territories of Georgia [may not be used] … for military purposes…We have refused to do so for both sides of the conflict. Georgia is analyzing the situation and is ready for all scenarios”, said Sesiashvili.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in south-west Azerbaijan near the south-eastern border of Armenia.
The region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but controlled by ethnic Armenians.
About one million people were displaced as a result of the 1990s war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region and about 30,000 killed.