Border dispute in Dvani continues

In the village Dvani, in the Kareli region, the Russian military continues its border demarcation work. Territorial Administrator Zaza Kopadze said that after the completion of this work, a large amount of land will be behind the occupied territories, and a few families remain without arable land.

Russia accuses Georgia of provocations in the process of the installation of the new fences. Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gregory Karasin, reported the position of the Kremlin to the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Philippe Lefort, during a telephone conversation prior to the next round of the Geneva negotiations. “Propagandist hysteria is being spread regarding absolutely legal activities by Tskhinvali, which seeks to reinforce its state border. False assertions are being spread that the boundary line cuts into Georgia’s territory. The Georgian police are directly involved in the process of organizing the protest of locals, which is then covered by media with bias,” said Karasin.

“False claims are knowingly disseminated about alleged shift of the border line deeper into the Georgian territory. The Georgian police is directly involved in organizing ‘protest rallies of local population’ with consequent biased coverage by the media as it happened, for example, on September 17 close to the village of Ditsi. Noise has been stirred recently around [borderisation] measures in the area of the village of Dvani,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Russian Deputy Minister told Lefort that Georgia was dissatisfied with the control of the borders by Russia. “It is hard for them to recognize the results, which followed the military adventures sparked by Saakashvili,” stated Karasin. He also expressed his hope during the telephone conversation that the European monitors would prevent the Georgian authorities from taking irresponsible steps, especially prior to the presidential election.

“Attention of the EU special representative was drawn to the intensified provocative activities of Tbilisi in the border area with the South Ossetia. Propagandistic hysteria is being fanned around absolutely legitimate actions of the authorities in Tskhinval to reinforce border regime of their state borders,” reads the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement.

“The Russian side has expressed hope that EU’s special representative and the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia will restrain the authorities in Tbilisi from irresponsible steps in the border areas, especially in the condition of ongoing pre-election campaign in the country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that the issue should be discussed “constructively and calmly” in frames of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism.

President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, calls on the government to mobilize the support of the international community against these events. “Over the last few months, we lost control of more agricultural lands than in Tamarasheni or in Kurta and nobody was informed of it and Russia did not pay any political price for it. Some people often used to say that the main problem was that Putin hated me. Now they can see that Georgia’s sovereign borders are attacked despite the fact that Ivanishvili is in power,” stated Saakashvili.

According to Saakashvili, Georgia can protect its position only by preserving international support. “International support is the only chance for protection of the position for a little country… If we say that we do not have ambitions and everything is our fault, what will protect us? The word occupation has vanished from the vocabulary of our officials. Americans and Europeans also stopped talking about occupation. This is an unprecedented fact in the history of Georgia,” the president said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls upon the partner states and international organizations to undertake appropriate and effective measures to immediately stop and reverse “illegal actions of the Russian occupying forces across the occupation line in the Tskhinvali region”, which, it said, grossly violates international norms and has extremely negative impact on daily livelihood of the local population. Ongoing illegal activities of the Russian Federation and their humanitarian implications underscore the urgency of the establishment international security and human rights monitoring mechanisms.

Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, says it is important that the international organizations are involved and aware of the situation. “Their reactions and our efforts will ensure that there will be no escalation in the region,” said Alasania.

The co-reporters of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for Georgia, Michael Aasstrup Jensen and Boriss Cilevics, expressed their concern about the resumption of the installation of fences and other physical obstacles by Russian border guards along the administrative borders with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In this respect they are especially concerned about the fact that in several places the obstacles are constructed deep into Tbilisi administered territory thereby moving the de facto boundaries. “These fences and obstacles violate the cease fire agreement and are detrimental to the livelihood of those living in the border zone, irrespective of on which side of the boundaries they live. We therefore call upon Russia and the de facto authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to halt the construction of such border work and to allow the free movement of civilians across the administrative borderlines” said the co-reporters.

Political analyst, Soso Tsintsadze thinks that “the only way to solve the situation in Ditsi and Dvani, is a meeting between Bidzina Ivanishvili and Vladimir Putin.”

He said that there is no stalemate in diplomacy, but taking into account the development of the situation, politically courageous decisions are needed.

“There is no other way out,” he said, adding that the meeting with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin and the special representative Zurab Abashidze “has exhausted its efficiency ratio.”

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