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EUMM calls for new incident prevention meeting

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, January 8
The EU Monitoring Mission has called on the Georgian and the de facto South Ossetian sides to hold an Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting early next week to “discuss freedom of movement and detainee issues close to the South Ossetian administrative boundary line.”

The statement, released on Wednesday, followed the detention of a South Ossetian resident, Genady Pliev by the Georgian police in the village of Nikozi at the administrative border on January 4. On Tuesday EU monitors visited a place the South Ossetian side maintains Pliev was "kidnapped" from, 500 metres inside the Ossetian claimed border, and talked to his neighbours and family members. Georgia states that Pliev was detained on the Georgian side of the line.

Head of the EU Monitoring Mission, Hansjorg Haber said that the EUMM is “trying hard” to find out the details of the case and see what can be done to resolve the situation “in the interests of all concerned.” “So far, the picture is unclear with conflicting reports of what exactly happened. We will continue to look into this in the coming days,” Ambassador Haber said

“Meanwhile this case, following recent cases of detentions on both sides of the administrative boundary line, raises wider issues concerning freedom of movement, security, and detainees. Ultimately, with goodwill, detainees on both sides should be able to return to their homes. The right forum to address these issues is the IPRM process. I therefore call on all sides to meet early next week to discuss these issues,” he added.

The de facto South Ossetian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on January 6 which called the detention of the Ossetian man “yet another provocation of Georgian special agencies.” The de facto Ministry called on international organisations responsible for ensuring stability in the region to take measures to secure the release of Genady Pliev and eliminate a further aggravation of the situation.

The Georgian Interior Ministry claims that detained South Ossetian resident Genady Pliev is a member of an “Ossetian criminal group.” Pliev was armed with a machine gun and hand grenades when detained, according to the Interior Ministry. He was sentenced to two months of preliminary detention.