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“Terrorist” explosions condemned by Georgia and Europe

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Tuesday, March 31
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the two connected explosions triggered by a trip-wire which occurred at the South Ossetian administrative border on Sunday, killing one Georgian policeman and wounding six. In a briefing held on March 30 the head of the International Organizations Department of the Foreign Ministry, Sergi Kapanadze, evaluated the incident as a terrorist act and stated that full responsibility for this incident lies with the Russian Federation as it controls Georgia’s occupied territories. According to Kapanadze Russia is refusing to implement the Geneva agreement on providing security mechanisms in the region and continues committing terrorist acts there.

“While the Georgian side, jointly with the USA, EU, OSCE and UN, does its best to implement the mechanism for preventing incidents the Tskhinvali terrorist regime and Russia create obstacles for us and moreover continue to plan and carry out other terrorist attacks in the region,” Kapanadze stated, adding that such incidents indicate that Russia is not going to fulfil the 6-point ceasefire agreement of 12 August which stated that Russian troops should be withdrawn from Georgia’s occupied territories.

Yesterday Georgian MPs made a special statement to the international community in which they highlight that incidents such as this are frequent in the region and dozens of people have been affected. According to the statement, released by the Georgian Parliament, not only does the Kremlin try to prevent the implementation of the mechanisms agreed during the Geneva negotiations but international organizations as well as the Georgian authorities are obliged to take steps in order to prevent such violations.

Meanwhile on March 29 the OSCE and EUMM released a special statement of their own in which they strongly condemned the bomb blasts. The Special Representative of the Greek Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, Ambassador Charalampos Christopoulos, who visited Georgia as part of the visit of the Geneva Co-Chairs, which includes representatives of the United Nations and the European Union, stated on Sunday that OSCE military monitoring officers had been sent to Dvani immediately the incident became known to ascertain what had happened, adding that this was “a deliberately targeted attack.”

“I strongly condemn this violence and send my condolences to the family of the police officer who was killed and wish those wounded a speedy recovery,” the Ambassador said. “Such incidents are further raising tensions in an already fragile environment. They underscore the need to implement swiftly the incident prevention and response mechanisms which all parties agreed to at the last round of Geneva discussions. They also underline the importance of the presence of the OSCE military observers who are able to monitor such incidents and credibly report on them,” he said.

Shortly after the Georgian Interior Ministry released the report of the blast, head of the EUMM Hansjorg Haber said the first explosion seemed to be triggered by a trip-wire. “Thus, the attackers did not discriminate between potential victims, but any car could have been hit,” he said in a statement. “It is abominable that the second explosion obviously targeted the people coming to help the victims of the first one,” he added. “This attack, whilst policemen were going about their lawful duties, is a totally unacceptable breach of the Sarkozy–Medvedev Agreements. We expect this incident to be thoroughly investigated on both sides of the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary line and those responsible duly prosecuted,” Haber concluded.

The blasts occurred on March 29, around 8:30am local time in the village Dvani of Kareli district in Georgia’s controlled territory, seven km southwest of Tskhinvali and one km south of the administrative boundary. The second blast blew up a second police vehicle which had entered the village to investigate the blowing up of the first one.