Tbilisi and Tskhinvali exchanged thirteen detainees from each side on December 30 as agreed during a meeting in frames of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Dvani last week.
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, welcomed the exchange, which is the largest such swap in recent years. Tbilisi and Tskhinvali exchanged seven detainees from each side in February, 2011.
“Today’s exchange of detainees is an important step towards building trust and helping to ensure freedom of movement,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis said in a statement. “I welcome the constructive and co-operative approach by the authorities that resulted in this exchange.”
He said that the exchange of detainees, agreed in frames of the mechanism co-facilitated by the OSCE and EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), was an example that the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism was “an important tool for resolving issues on the ground.”
“I encourage the participants to make full use of this mechanism with the aim of addressing further challenges which affect the lives and livelihoods of people on both sides of the administrative boundary line,” the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said.