Second meeting in frames of incident prevention mechanisms, agreed during the recent round of talks in Geneva, scheduled for May 7 has been “adjourned,” EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said.
On Wednesday afternoon, EUMM released a statement saying that the second meeting would take place at 11am on May 7 “in the municipal building of Tirdznisi,” a village in the Gori district located roughly five kilometers away from breakaway South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali.
The Georgian Interior Ministry, whose representative is acting as chief negotiator at those meetings, said in a statement on May 7: “Despite efforts by EU Monitoring Mission, OSCE and the Georgian side, the meeting has been thwarted by the Russian and [South] Ossetian sides.”
Itar-Tass news agency reported quoting unnamed military official from the Russian forces in South Ossetia that the meeting “has been postponed for indefinite period of time because of unconstructive position of the Georgian side.” The official claimed that the Georgian side had refused to hold the meeting in the village of Ergneti – the venue of the first meeting – and instead offered to hold talks in the town of Gori, an administrative center of the Gori district.
EUMM said in a statement on May 7: “It is disappointing that we had to adjourn the meeting planned for today as one side changed its position on a suitable location as expressed during the initial meeting on 23 April. We very much hope that this meeting can be held in the near future.”
EUMM spokesman specified later that it was the South Ossetian side, which changed its position on the matter.
In the statement EUMM also reiterated that its monitors had not witness any activity of the Georgian forces in the vicinity of breakaway South Ossetia that was in contrary to Georgia’s commitments undertaken in a memorandum with EUMM restricting movement and deployment of the Georgian forces in the area.
“We have also received various assurances from the Russian Forces about the nature of their recent additional deployments, but we need to have a greater exchange of information about these activities and the possibility to monitor what is happening on the other side of the administrative boundary lines,” EUMM said. “The best way to reduce tension on all sides is to be able to discuss these and related issues under the Geneva agreed Incident Prevention Mechanism.”