Tbilisi - Customs Crossing Point in Akhalgori is Legally and Politically Impossible

Tbilisi says that a customs control point cannot be built between breakaway region South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia, because this kind of facility can only operate as a state border. 

This statement came a day after Tskhinvali announced its plans to open a customs check point in Akhalgori, in the East of South Ossetia, to monitor goods coming from Georgia. 

This isn’t the first time that disagreements over the region’s status have reached the news. South Ossetia has been recognized as an independent republic by neighboring Russia and three other UN members. Despite this, all other members still recognize it as part of Georgia. 

The State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, declared that there is only one border between Georgia and Russia, and it is located at Caucasus Ridge. 

"This would be legally and politically impossible”, she said. 

Tsikhelashvili also highlighted the importance for Georgia of not restricting the flow of goods between the region and Georgia, but making it easier. 

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, said that this customs control point would threaten the rights of people living in occupied Akhalgori. 

“This is yet another attempt by the Russian federation to put the occupied regions in its sphere of economic influence. We want for movement [in these areas] to be as free as possible and we will do our best to achieve this”, he said. 

Zalkaliani added that the Foreign Ministry will do all they can to bring this to the attention of the international community.

By Tom Day

07 November 2017 14:08