Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, has suggested that “certain forces” in Russia, willing to deter bilateral dialogue with Georgia, might be behind ongoing installation of wire fences across the South Ossetian administrative boundary line, which, he said, resulted into shifting the line deeper into the Georgian-controlled areas.
Speaking with journalists after a meeting with President of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, Jean-Claude Mignon, in Tbilisi on May 29, Usupashvili said: “I expressed my supposition that it might be an attempt by certain forces in the Russian authorities to hinder those first steps which are taking place in bilateral dialogue between Russia and Georgia; these steps are on their initial stage, but as it seems even these steps already irritate certain circles in the Kremlin. Shifting administrative border and creating additional problems in this situation seems to serve this purpose as well.”
He said that the Georgian authorities’ policies in regards to this situation “will be principled, but careful in order not to let those forces, which do not want in general normalization of relations between the two countries to achieve their goal.”
Russian troops, deployed in breakaway South Ossetia, intensified recently installation of wire fences across some parts of the administrative boundary line, which causes protest of local residents of villages on the Georgian-controlled areas, who say that wire fences affects negatively on their daily life, hinders their free movement and agricultural activities.
On May 27 Russian troops started installing fences in the vicinity of Ditsi, a village close to the administrative border; local residents said that fences were erected about 300 hundred meters deeper into the Georgian-controlled areas and as a result they will no longer be able to use the land beyond newly installed fences.
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said that installation of fences “is unacceptable.”
“EUMM has observed an increase in the construction of fences and obstacles, which has a negative impact on the local population,” Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, head of EUMM, said in a statement on May 28. “This may prompt frustration and further protest, which could in turn lead to further destabilisation in these sensitive areas.”
“The freedom of movement of communities living in areas adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Lines is a key priority for EUMM. The installation of fences impedes people’s livelihood and divides families and communities. This is unacceptable,” he said.
In a statement on May 27 the Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern over the installation of wire fences by the Russian occupation forces across the Tskhinvali region's occupation line.” It said that erecting fences in the vicinity of the villages of Ditsi and Dvani, “represents a blatant violation of the fundamental principles of international law, primarily of Georgia's territorial integrity and the inviolability of internationally recognized borders, as well as of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.”