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Peace talks a couple meters from the Administrative Boundary Line

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, January 27
The 51st Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting took place in Ergneti on January 20th.

The meetings are usually held in a special camp a couple of meters away from the administrative boundary line (ABL). This camp unites representatives of Georgian, Ossetian and Russian parties and international monitors to discuss the needs and problems the local population is facing nowadays. De-facto South Ossetian territory is only a few steps away from the camp.

In the interests of supporting peace, stability and security, and with due attention to the provisions of the six-point agreement of August 12, and subsequent implementing measures of September 8, joint mechanisms with the relevant participants are required in order to prevent and, where necessary, respond to incidents that could cause suffering to the civilian populations and/or risk deterioration of the situation.

This is why from April 23, 2009 till today, the agenda of the IPRM meetings will unite all the issues that the monitors obtain from the local population.

Installation of barbed-wire fences by Russian forces, the cases of detainees and missing persons, movement of cattle across the ABL, the rehabilitation of water pipes, as well as other topics related to the livelihoods of the local communities are always on the agenda.

Representatives of the State Ministry of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality and the Ministry of Internal Affairs is personally taking parts in the meetings in Ergneti.

The 51st IPRM meeting lasted for more than five hours. According to the representative of the MIA’s Analytical Department Kakha Kemoklidze, the Georgian side raised the issue of transferring the body of a Georgian man Davit Basharuli to his family. However, according to the de-facto South Ossetian authorities, examination of the corpse is underway and will supposedly last for around two or three weeks.

The new Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) Kestutis Jankauskas said a variety of such issues were put on the agenda, which mean a lot to the local population. He also welcomed the fact that “discussions and changes of views took place in a constructive and positive manner”. Jankauskas said that the mission will continue to do its best to ensure stability and safety in the region. Discussions over the needs of the people living along the ABL remain the number one issue on the IPRM agenda.

Next IPRM meeting will be held in Ergneti on February 27. But before that the issues concerning the local population will accumulate via the hotline.

IPRM meetings define the fate of certain people. This is why it is so important to deliver their messages to the relevant addressees.

Meetings similar to Ergneti used to take place in Gali, Abkhazia before 2012 as well. This issue still remains on the agenda, however, hardly anything can be achieved without interest and engagement of the local population.

As the former Head of EUMM Toivo Klaar said at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) earlier in December, the wave of information about the needs and problems of the local population the monitors gain on the ground along the ABL would remain only as information without the IPRM meetings regularly held in Ergneti. The meetings together with the hotline ensure constant connection among the Georgian officials, Russian border-guards, international missions and de-facto governments. All the parties appreciate the fact that a lot of issues are being solved through the hotline.

There are certain issues that are hard to be solved between the previous and next IPRM meetings, however, as Klaar said because of the mission’s continuous pretense at ABL’s people on the both side have confidence that they are protected, that the mission “helps reduce tensions and helps channel disagreements in a more constructive avenues”, which is a crucial contribution to ensuring stability in the region.