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50th IPRM meeting takes place in Gali

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 27
The 50th meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Gali in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazian region was held on October 25.

As usual, the meeting was chaired by the United Nations (UN), with the participation of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM).

The EUMM reports that the meeting was conducted in a constructive and business-like atmosphere.

“The Georgian and Abkhazian participants expressed an openness to cooperate further on law enforcement issues of common concern. The EUMM welcomes steps towards a stronger cross Administrative Boundary Line cooperation on issues of common concern relating to security,” the EUMM statement reads.

Prior to the 50th IPRM meeting, at the initiative of the UN and with the participation of international experts’ information session was held. During the session, participants of the IPRM meeting were introduced to international experience in terms of efficient efforts against crime in conflict regions.

In line with EUMM assessments, the participants agreed that the overall security situation on the ground since the last IPRM has remained relatively stable.

The Georgian participants raised a number of cases of illegal detainment of its citizens, and the Abkhazian participants raised a case of one Abkhazian resident detained on Tbilisi-administered territory.

The State Security Service (SSS) of Georgia reported that the case of Giga Otkhozoria – a Georgian citizen killed in the village of Khurcha in Zugdidi region last May – was once again put on the agenda.

Talks were also held on the issues of citizens who were illegally detained for crossing the so-called border and have not yet been released. The SSS stated that the representatives of Georgia also highlighted the importance of the “Hot Line” and stressed necessity of exchanging valid and revised information through it. During the meeting participants discussed the detention of a resident of the village of Gagra, Koba Okudjava.

“The Abkhaz side confirmed that detainee KobaOkujava, who, according to them, was arrested for serious crimes committed in 2000, is currently in the Gali prison,” the head of the SSS Analytical Department, Kakhaber Kemoklidze, stated after the meeting. He said the Georgian side is doing its best to release Okudjava.

The IPRM was created in February 2009 as a result of the Geneva Discussions, which followed the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict in Georgia.

The meetings were an opportunity to identify and discuss potential risks and follow-up of incidents and issues affecting the communities on a daily basis. The meetings were co-facilitated by the OSCE and the EUMM in Georgia.

The next IPRM meeting will be held on November 28, 2017.