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EU stands behind monitoring mission personnel in Georgia

By Ernest Petrosyan
Monday, April 30
The spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has released the statement regarding the cancellation of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting.

Expressing the “continued full confidence” in the leadership of the EU Monitoring Mission, the statement stressed that “determination of the composition of the delegation of the EU at the IPRM meeting by another participant is unacceptable”.

"The EU regrets that the Abkhazia Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting on 24th April was cancelled at the last minute due to certain conditions set by the Abkhaz de-facto authorities,” the April 27 statement read.

“Any challenge to established and agreed procedures of the Geneva International Discussions can have serious consequences,” it continued. “As stated in the Statement of the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions on 25 April, the IPRM's have been acknowledged by all participants of the Geneva Discussions as an important tool for addressing security issues as well as other issues on the ground”.

“The EU Monitoring Mission plays an important role in the IPRM’s within its stabilization, normalization and confidence-building mandate,” the statement maintained, expressing hope that “the IPRM can soon meet again to the benefit of all participants".

The delay of the IPRM meeting was triggered by Abkhaz authorities, who accused head of the EUMM in Georgia, Andrzej Tyszkieweicz, of disrespecting Sokhumi, declaring him persona non grata in Abkhazia.

Sokhumi demands that the EUMM be represented at the IPRM meetings by other representatives instead of the current head of mission. Its position is backed by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which said on April 27 that “the Abkhaz position has its logic".

Officials in Tbilisi assume that Moscow is behind the recent decision. The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on April 26 that it was part of Moscow’s attempts to undermine the monitoring mission in Georgia, as the presence of international monitors is not convenient for Russia.