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US urges Russia to fulfill ceasefire agreement terms and to leave Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 18
Acting US Ambassador to Georgia Elizabeth Rood stated that the US is concerned by the current tension at the occupation line near Georgia’s Russian-occupied South Ossetia region and the closure of crossing-points, adding her country calls on Russia to fulfill the terms of the 2008 ceasefire agreement and take its forces out of the Georgian territory.

“The United States is concerned about the situation at the administrative dividing line with South Ossetia, especially in Chorchana, and we urge the Russian and Ossetian sides to take all necessary measures to de-escalate the situation,” she said.

Rood noted that it is also important to use all the available mechanisms to defuse the situation, including the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM).

“We are also very concerned about the fact that the so-called checkpoints are locked at the administrative border, as it causes a very difficult humanitarian situation for those people, who live beyond the administrative line. That's why we call on the de facto authorities to open crossing-points,” she said.

The EUMM, which is the only mission deployed in Georgia after the Russia-Georgia 2008 war, provided details regarding the current tension at Georgia’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region on September 16, saying in January 2019 their monitors noted markings on trees in the area between Tsnelisi, located in Kareli municipality of Georgia under the Russian control and Chorchana, in Khashuri municipality of Georgia, Tbilisi-administered territory.

“Between 20 and 24 August, a new Georgian observation post was established on the outskirts of the village of Tsnelisi by the MIA Special Tasks Department. According to EUMM findings, the post is located some 240 meters away from the ABL and on Tbilisi-administered territory in accordance with the traditionally understood run of the ABL in that area,” the statement reads.

The agency added that the security actors from occupied South Ossetia established new positions and installed a number of borderisation features last week.

The Mission also speaks about the substantial, continuing presence of armed security actors in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area.

“The establishment of multiple new positions across the ABL, and the concentration of armed personnel increases the potential for encounters and constitutes a risk to the stability,” the mission said.

The EUMM also said that two crossing points at the South Ossetian ABL - Odzisi and Sinaguri - have remained closed since 20:00 on 4 September 2019, adding security actors in South Ossetia have linked the closures to the ongoing developments in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area.

“The Mission sees these measures as harmful restrictions of movement, which negatively impact commuters from both sides of the ABL, especially affecting the population living in or regularly commuting to the Akhalgori valley,” stressed the statement.