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Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli 

Representatives of the Georgian central authority and occupation regime fail to overcome the Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis despite multiple meetings and negotiations. The crisis originated after the police unit was built in the Georgia-controlled territory that was protested by the de-facto government. The latter demands to remove the Georgian blockpost from the territory nearby the occupation line, while the Government of Georgia states that the demands of the de-facto authority are unreasonable because the police unit was constructed on the Georgia-controlled territory. 

Despite intensive negotiations, the Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis is getting deeper. The de-facto government of Tskhinvali started construction of two new blockposts nearby the Georgia-controlled village of Chorchana. 

“They are constructing one block-post on the Georgia-controlled territory; as for the second one – they are building it nearby the Georgia-controlled villages of Tsaghvli and Kobi,” said Vazha Lomidze, representative of the Khashuri municipality mayor in Chorchana village community. He spoke about the tension resulted from the ongoing construction of two new blockposts by the occupation regime that scares the local population. 

Representative of the anti-occupation movement “Power Is in Unity” Davit Katsarava said as a result of arrangement two new blockpost, Georgia will lose another 300 hectares of land in the region. 

“According to our preliminary assessment, they have occupied about 300 hectares of land in Khashuri municipality. We did not lose this territory as a result of 2008 August War. It always belonged to the Khashuri municipality and not Tskhinvali region,” Katsarava said.

On September 8, representatives of the diplomatic corps visited the Khashuri municipality to study the situation on the ground. Deputy Head of the analytic department of the State Security Service Irakli Antadze informed them about the ongoing construction of two new blockposts by the de-facto regime. The diplomats said they will inform their colleagues about the aggressive policy of Russia. 

“It is important to be here because the USA condemns long-term presence of Russian forces alongside the administrative border as well as ongoing borderization process. The USA calls on Russia to withdraw its forces and stop occupation of the Georgian territories,” acting assistant to the US State Secretary Philip Reeker said. 

Representative of the State Security Service told diplomats that illegal activities of the occupant regime complicates daily life of the locals and undermines the safe environment on the ground. 

“We see that the Government of Georgia is careful about the state of people living in the occupied region. It is essential that they had access to healthcare programs, medicine and more. The problem is that Russia continues occupation and borderization; the border is moving deeply inside the Georgia-controlled territory permanently that restricts the rights of people and limits access to various services. People cannot return to the occupied territory. We cooperate with the GoG in the implementation of the internationally guaranteed rights and norms for the people living in the occupied region,” said Kurt Volker, the director of McCain Institute. 
On September 13, at the IPRM meeting in Ergneti village, the parties again discussed how to overcome the Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis but as the representative of the analytic department of the State Security Service said, the only thing the parties agreed about was to continue dialogue. 

“Our positions are different. We underlined that standard police office will continue functioning and its purpose will be to ensure safe environment on the place. At the same time, of course, we categorically demanded them to stop all illegal activities on the territory which is controlled by the central government. They had absolutely different position about it and consequently we could not reach consensus. As for the dialogue, we agreed to continue it and everybody underlined that it is necessary to continue dialogue to reach some agreement. The date of our next meeting is not scheduled yet,” Antadze said. 
According to Antadze, instead solving the problem, the occupation regime deepens the crisis. He spoke about closed crossing points in the occupied Akhalgori municipality. He said, the representatives of the Tskhinvali de-facto government stated at the meeting that they closed the crossing-point in Akhalgori because of new police unit in Chorchana village.
“Of course, we raised the issue of Akhalgori municipality and they, unfortunately, explained it with the ongoing situation in Chorchana village that is absolutely groundless motive. We underlined that it was humanitarian aspect and the inhabitants of the both sides of the occupation line will benefit from it. We also mentioned that closing the crossing points will harm the daily life of the locals. Unfortunately, they are not constructive with regard to this issue that is absolutely unacceptable for us,” Antadze said.

Residents of the occupied Akhalgori municipality state that unless the crossing points are opened, the number of the inhabitants in the villages will reduce because Tbilisi is closer than Tskhinvali and locals travel to Tbilisi for different needs more often than to Tskhinvali. 

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