The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) has called on “all parties to show restraint and focus on local communities’ concerns” as an argument broke out between a local Georgian resident and an official from breakaway South Ossetia after Russian troops resumed installation of fences at the administrative boundary line in the vicinity of the village of Ditsi on September 17.
An ad hoc meeting between the officials from Georgia and the breakaway region, facilitated by EUMM, was held on spot.
“As it seems there was certain verbal argument between a local resident and representatives of the Russian border guards and so called border guard service of [breakaway South Ossetia]. Such incidents should be prevented and we discussed it,” Kakhaber Kemoklidze of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s department of information and analyses said after the meeting.
Kemoklidze, who is a long-time participant of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), also said that Russian troops are not going to give up installation of fences.
Locals in the village of Ditsi have complained that installation of fences was cutting access to a nearby cemetery.
“At noon today, the local residents in the vicinity of Ditsi expressed concern, as the installation of fences resumed at the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia. EUMM has been on the spot throughout the day,” EUMM said.
“Since May 2013, inhabitants of Ditsi have repeatedly complained about the continuous installation of fences and consequences relating to their freedom of movement and livelihood such as lack of access to agricultural land and water,” it said.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry released a statement on September 17 expressing “deep concern” over “illegal actions of the Russian occupying forces across the Tskhinvali region’s occupation line.”
“The Georgian government condemns such illegal actions, which have negative impact on humanitarian condition of the local population and which significantly restrict their internationally recognized rights, including freedom of movement,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
It also said that persisting “critical condition in the occupied regions” highlights the need for setting up international security and human rights monitoring mechanisms. The Georgian Foreign Ministry has also called on the international community “to duly assess the ongoing situation in Georgia's occupied territories and take relevant measures to put an end to Russia's illegal activities.”