The June 21 blast at the Abkhaz administrative border, which killed one person, was “a deliberate attack” on EU Monitoring Mission’s (EUMM) patrol, Hansjörg Haber, head of the mission, said on Monday.
A driver of a medical vehicle accompanying EU monitoring patrol close to Eristskali in Tsalenjikha district, died in a mine explosion. A doctor in the same vehicle, belonging to MediClub Georgia, was injured. An armored vehicle carrying EU monitors was “slightly damaged,” according to EUMM.
“I am very concerned that our preliminary findings of this incident indicate this was a deliberate attack on our patrol, going about its daily duties. This is a worrying development and completely unacceptable,” Haber said in a statement on June 22. “The EUMM is an unarmed non executive Mission, mandated to carry out patrols to bring about security and stability to the people on both sides of the administrative boundary lines. We are entitled to carry out our legitimate activities unhindered.”
He said that he hoped those responsible for the attack would be caught and prosecuted and called on the sides “to practice restraint.” The head of EUMM also called on the sides to use the Incident and Response Mechanism, agreed during the Geneva talks, to deal with issues of concern.
OSCE and EU facilitated meeting in frames of incident prevention and response mechanism was held twice with participation of Georgian, South Ossetia sides and Russian military commanders on the ground in breakaway South Ossetia. The third meeting was scheduled for June 23, but was canceled after the South Ossetian side’s refusal to take part. But no such mechanism has yet been initiated in respect of another breakaway region of Abkhazia.