Georgian, S.Ossetian Authorities Discuss Illegal Detentions

ERGNETI, Georgia - Representatives of the Georgian Government and its breakaway South Ossetia region on Tuesday held their 67th meeting in Ergneti, near the internationally recognized contact line that separates the two parties.

The Deputy Director of the Interior Ministry's Analytical Department, David Kobakhidze, said he discussed with the Ossetians the issue of illegal installation of barbed-wire fences and border signs, as well as the illegal detention of local citizens near the occupation lines were the main topics of discussion at a meeting headed by the head of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) Kestutis Jankauskas and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus, Guenther Baechler.

Kobakhidze said that Georgian side provided detailed information about Nika Saghirashvili, who has been disappeared near the contact line on June 28. Georgian authorities have demanded access to the South Ossetian’s surveillance cameras to gather information on Saghirashvili’s whereabouts.

During the meeting, the two parties also discussed the issue of David Basharuli, a 19 year-old who went missing two years ago and was later found dead six months later in January 2015.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ossetians finally confirmed in November 2015 that Basharuli was kidnapped and detained by South Ossetia’s KGB and Russian occupation forces and was later beaten to death while in custody in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

The IPRM meeting is an unarmed civilian monitoring mission established by the European Union on September 15, 2008 to contribute to the stabilization of the situation on the ground following the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War.

The EUMM monitors the full compliance of all sides with the EU-brokered six-point agreement from August 2008 that was signed by both Georgia and Russia.

The meetings are an opportunity to identify and discuss potential risks and follow-up on incidents and outstanding issues that affect the communities on a daily basis.

Georgia fought two wars against Russian and pro-Moscow separatists in South Ossetia from 1991-2008.

The wars left hundreds dead and led to the ethnic cleansing of thousands of ethnic Georgians. Moscow recognized South Ossetia and the other Russian-occupied region Abkhazia as independent states following the 2008 war.

International law and the United Nations continue to state that the regions remain part of Georgia.

The next IPRM meeting will take place on July 19, 2016.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

Photo: EUMM

29 June 2016 21:22