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Tbilisi slams “border demarcation” meeting planned in Moscow

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, March 21
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has slammed the information spread by Russian and Abkhazian media outlets that a so called Russian-Abkhazian State Border Delimitation and Demarcation Commission is to hold a session from March 28 to April 1. Officially, Tbilisi has said any negotiations between the “occupant state” and the “occupation regime” on Georgia’s state border Abkhazian section are “illegal.” The Georgian Foreign Ministry has said that the only side which is authorized to conduct negotiations on delimitation and demarcation of state borders of Georgia is the Georgian central government. “Any agreements reached between them [the Russian and the de facto Abkhazian authorities] will have no legal power,” the statement posted on Georgian Foreign Ministry’s official website on March 18 reads.

According to news agency Apsnypress, a bilateral commission will discuss the issues of delimitation and demarcation of the “state border” between Russia and Abkhazia in late March. The de facto Abkhazian officials have said that the Abkhazian delegation has prepared a number of documents and archive materials, including cartographic papers. “The commission will discuss the issue of demarcation of the North and North-West section of the Abkhazian state border,” head of the de facto Abkhazian delegation, Valeri Kvarchia said.

Earlier in November the Georgian side criticized the “border demarcation” works in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, calling it “illegal”. Georgian Interior Ministry first reported on the demarcation works in September 2010, saying that “such behaviour by Russian occupational forces is a clear provocation which will further limit free movement in the region for the local population.”

The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia also expressed its concern over the demarcation works along the administrative border between Georgia and de facto South Ossetia. In a statement published on November 26, the EUMM said that “EU Monitoring Mission patrol observed seven Russian and South Ossetian Armed personnel accompanying three South Ossetian civilians performing measuring activities on the ground along the administrative boundary line, close to the village of Disi.” EUMM said in its statement that it was not the first time that such measuring activity had been reported. “The Mission has increasing indications that this is part of a broader policy of unilateral border demarcation. The EUMM is concerned about these ‘border demarcation works’, as they are incompatible with the principle of Georgian territorial integrity, which is fully supported by the European Union,” the statement reads.