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We were deliberately attacked, says EUMM

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Tuesday, June 23
Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) Hansjorg Haber stated yesterday that the June 21 blast at the Abkhazian administrative border, which killed the driver of a MediClub ambulance, was “a deliberate attack” on the EUMM patrol.

“I am very concerned that our preliminary findings of this incident indicate this was a deliberate attack on our patrol, going about its daily duties. This is a worrying development and completely unacceptable,” Haber said in a statement. “The EUMM is an unarmed non- executive mission, mandated to carry out patrols to bring security and stability to the people on both sides of the administrative boundary lines. We are entitled to carry out our legitimate activities unhindered,” the statement continues. The head of mission has expressed his hope that of the attack would be caught and prosecuted. Haber also called on all sides to make use of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, established as a result of the Geneva talks, to address issues of concern.

On June 21 the EU Monitoring Mission had expressed its disappointment that once again the South Ossetian delegation had decided that it was unable to attend the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting planned for Tuesday 23 June. “I am very disappointed that despite our best efforts to fulfil requests made by the de facto South Ossetian delegation at our last meeting on May 29 they have decided not to attend the resumption of our discussions planned for 23 June. Unfortunately these talks will have to be postponed. To ensure the security and stability of the population on both sides of the administrative boundary lines, all sides need to be able to resolve issues and deal with incidents through the mechanisms agreed in Geneva in February 2009. I very much hope that we can resume our discussions on the substantive issues that were raised at our last meeting as soon as possible,” Haber stated in the released statement.

Meanwhile at about 4 a.m. on June 22, a Georgian police checkpoint in Muzhava village, in the Tsalenjikha district, was attacked by mortar shells fired from the territory currently under Russian occupation and military control, the Ministry of Interior has stated. According to official information there are no casualties and the Georgian side did not respond to the attack. However it is reported that in addition Abkhaz separatists are forcing local Georgians to leave their homes, claiming they need the area for building fortifications. Russian occupiers have also allegedly blown up the road connecting the villages of Jvari and Muzhava to Gali district.

At about 04:30 a 500-kilowatt high frequency transmission line was also damaged in another explosion in the vicinity of Muzhava. Kavkasioni, a 500 kV power line linking the Georgian, Russian and Turkish power systems, is operated by Sakrusenergo, a joint venture of the Georgian Government and Russia’s Unified Energy System. Russian occupiers have not allowed Georgian technicians to travel to the village of Muzhava to repair the damaged sector of the line.