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Renewed tensions between South Ossetia and Georgia. The 'bordering' in question

(B2) The establishment of a harder physical border on certain points of the boundary between South Ossetia and Georgia is raising tension in this former Soviet republic

EU observation mission vehicle patrol in Chorchana forest (credit: EUMM Georgia)

A mediation meeting that falls short

The planned meeting of the IRPM (the alert and mediation mechanism) in Ergneti on Thursday (August 29) bringing together all the parties concerned (Russians, Georgians, Ossetians) came to an end. Confrontation has replaced discussion, according to our information. And it could not lead to the hoped-for relaxation. Point confirmed between the lines by the communicated official issued after the meeting by the EU observation mission present in the region since the Russian intervention in the summer of 2008.

“The meeting was marked by a series of intense exchanges on the topic of Tsnelisi between participants. Regrettably it was impossible to complete discussions on all agenda points as the meeting was disrupted. »

The 'bordering'

For several weeks, 'borderisation', a term derived from the English 'border' (borders), has been threatening relations between Georgia and the secessionist province of South Ossetia. The Ossetians have begun to harden their border. Near Gugutiantkari, a new, more rigid fence has been installed. That " further divides communities underlined the head of the European observation mission of the EU (EUMM Georgia). Erik Hoeg inspected the ground on Wednesday (August 28) along with the two co-chairs (UN and OSCE) of the Geneva Discussion Group (GID).

Visit of the co-chairs of the Geneva discussion group, along the hardened border (credit: EUMM Georgia)

Between Tsnelisi on the Ossetian side and Chorchana on the Georgian side, the situation has also brutally worsened with the arrival of heavy Russian military equipment, armored vehicles, armed forces, etc. While the Georgians responded with the installation of a mobile police checkpoint.

An unacceptable situation

« The situation around Chorchana, such as the close proximity of armed actors on both sides of the administrative boundary (ABL) and the confrontational language used today at the IRPM meeting are unacceptable declared Carl Hartzell, the EU ambassador in Tbilisi, in a message transmitted at two o'clock in the morning on twitter. " We expect all parties to exercise maximum restraint and use their influence to ensure that the situation does not escalate. ».

A call for calm

The situation prevents the diplomats in charge of the file from sleeping (literally and figuratively). The message was transmitted to the government of Tbilisi not to add more. " Fortunately Georgia has a behavior enough Oenology says a European diplomat. Phone calls were also made, according to our information, to some Russian officials in Brussels and Moscow to ask them to calm their troops.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).