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Abkhazia condemns EUMM head

By Ernest Petrosyan
Thursday, April 26
The Abkhaz government has announced that the head of the EU monitoring mission in Georgia, Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, is persona non-grata, accusing him of disrespecting Sokhumi.

Breakaway Abkhazia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Wednesday, in which they expressed their “utmost bewilderment” over the “confrontational position taken by Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia”, accusing him of “attempts to politically blackmail the Abkhaz side". The Abkhaz government released the statement alongside its refusal to participate in a meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Gali on Tuesday.

The EU monitoring mission was launched within the entire territory of Georgia after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008. It monitors the breakaway regions, the authorities of which, with Kremlin support, regularly deny access to EUMM workers.

“The refusal of the EUMM Head to report serious incidents in the border area, including a series of murders as well as attempts of political blackmail of the Abkhaz side, is unacceptable. Being a party to the negotiation process in the format of the Geneva talks and the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention and response to incidents, Mr. Tyszkiewicz is ignoring our requests and appeals and is putting forth illegal demands to allow EUMM on the territory of Abkhazia, which contradicts the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement,” the Ministry statement read. “The EUMM, under the leadership of Tyszkiewicz, is clearly not disposed to carry out impartial monitoring and to give an objective assessment to processes posing threat to security”.

“In particular, Tyszkiewicz left without [giving] due attention to the process of establishing illegal armed groups on Georgian territory adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, on which a number of Georgian politicians have reported,” the statement continues, referring to allegations put forth by Free Democrats leader Irakli Alasania, in which he claimed that the Georgian administration is forming paramilitary groups for partisan political reasons.

The Russian government also accused Tyszkiewicz of "undermining the effectiveness of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism… as well as the overall constructive spirit of the negotiating process".

Georgian officials have responded that the decision to criticize Tyszkiewicz is within the Kremlin’s right – but, for that reason, it was not a unilateral decision of the Abkhaz authorities. Shota Malashkhia, Chair of the Temporary Commission on Territorial Integrity Issues, assumes that it is in Russia’s interest not to admit the mission either in the breakaway regions or on Georgian controlled territory.

Retired Polish army lieutenant general Andrzej Tyszkiewicz succeeded German diplomat Hansjorg Haber as head of the Georgian EUMM last July.