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Georgia condemns checkpoints at dividing line with Abkhazia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 9
Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, is concerned about information spread by Apsnypress, the news agency of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, which stated on December 28 that the de-facto government of Abkhazia was going to abolish checkpoints at the dividing line, except for the checkpoint of the Enguri River.

According to the report, the Khurcha-Nabakevi and Orsantia-Otobaia checkpoints will stop functioning. Instead, the de facto authorities offer a bus service to the Enguri Bridge to the residents of the Gali district.

The Shamgona-Tagiloni checkpoint, one out of 5 checkpoints, was abolished in April 2016.

“The checkpoints of Nabakevi and Otobaia will be shut down and only two checkpoints will be left, of which one will be cancelled later,” Lasha Tsaava, the head of the Juridical Department of Abkhazia, told Apsnypress.

Tsikhelashvili condemned the released information and expressed hope that the Abkhazian side would make a “rational decision”.

She said that the Georgian side and its partners have been informed about the issue and they do their best not to allow de-facto authorities shut down the checkpoints.

“This is very alarming information. If the checkpoints are closed, this will worsen the humanitarian situation of the whole population of occupied Abkhazia,” she stressed.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili also commented on the issue.

“The rights of the Gali population have been regularly restricted for years, and both the de-facto government and the Russian Federation, a country carrying out effective control over Abkhazia, are responsible for it,” stated Nanuashvili.

He appeals to the parties participating in the Geneva International Talks to reconsider their positions, not to take decisions which can further aggravate the rights of the conflict-affected population and escalate the already-tense relations.