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S. Ossetia asks Russia to help ‘de-escalate tensions’ with Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, September 9
De facto authorities of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia have addressed the Russian Federation with the request to help them “de-escalate tensions” with Georgia after the sides held an unproductive meeting in Ergneti within the framework of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM).

As reported by the Russian and S. Ossetian media, "South Ossetia’s parliament" submitted a request to Russia’s both houses of parliament - the State Duma and the Federation Council - asking to hold inter-parliamentary consultations “in the wake of tensions with Georgia, which had put up a police outpost near the South Ossetian village of Usta.”

Tskhinvali's appeal states that the meetings within the Incident Prevention and Response Framework are ineffective because of “Georgia's unconstructive position.”

The address reads that the Russian - South Ossetian “alliance and integration treaty” of March 18, 2015, envisages close cooperation in strengthening peace, stability, and security in the Caucasus region, adding the above-mentioned circumstances have forced the so-called parliament of South Ossetia to file a request with the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.

"The parliament of the Republic of South Ossetia declares that inter-parliamentary consultations must be convened immediately to work out approaches helping to de-escalate tensions and restore the security of citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia," it reads.

Tskhinvali discontent was caused by the construction of Georgian police checkpoint near the de facto border areas. The Ossetian side has warned Tbilisi several times to remove the checkpoint on the grounds that "Georgian police buildings at the border serve the provocation."

The Georgian side did not take into account Tskhinvali's position. These issues were discussed at extraordinary meetings within the IPRM format but the sides failed to reach a consensus.

De facto South Ossetian Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative for Post-Conflict Settlement Murat Dzhioev said Georgia is insisting on its positions and is not planning to drop them.

“For its part, South Ossetia insists that the outpost should be dismantled. The dialogue will be continued," he noted.

According to Dzhioev, Georgia claims that the checkpoint poses no threat to the villagers, adding breakaway Tskhinvali does not share this position.

"Our stance is that the checkpoint, regardless of how many people will be there, is a factor of destabilization and its presence on the South Ossetian territory is impossible," he said, adding that so-called South Ossetian checkpoint had been put up by near that territory earlier “in accordance with the laws.”

The Georgian side is concerned that the occupation forces occupied the hilltop in the vicinity of the village of Chorchana, installed a so-called ‘border’ sign and started to deploy a so-called checkpoint there.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry says the recent developments across the occupation line serve the provocation.

“The Ministry calls on the occupation regime to cease its illegal activities aimed at destabilizing the situation and ensure constructive participation in the Geneva International Discussions and IPRM,” the ministry tweeted.

The Foreign Ministry also condemned Tskhinvali’s decision to close the so-called border with Georgia, saying the step grossly violates fundamental human rights, including the right to free movement, puts the population of the Tskhinvali region of Georgia in complete isolation and exacerbates the already difficult humanitarian situation on the ground.

European Union’s Monitoring Mission (EUMM) also expressed concern about the recent developments near the occupation line.

Russia occupied Georgia’s two breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a wake of August 2008 war. Since then, Russian forces have been deployed in the 20% of territories that belong to Georgia.