10:34, Saturday, 22.02.2020
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Closed checkpoint and the need of peace corridor


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

A leader of the Development Movement Soso Vakhtangashvili spoke about the necessity to establish peace corridor in the occupied territory and mentioned the death of Margo Martiashvili in Ikorta village of the occupied Akhalgori district. The woman had a stroke and the occupation regime refused the family to transport her to Tbilisi via the Akhalgori checkpoint. As a result she was taken to Tskhinvali hospital, where she passed away. Soso Vakhtangashvili said the Government of Georgia shall raise the question of the peace corridor in all international formats. 

“While the occupation regime closes up the checkpoints, the issue of peace corridors for Georgian and Ossetian citizens shall be raised at least during the Geneva Talks. The GoG must think about it and raise the issue in the frame of international formats. None of similar cases must be left without reaction. We must bother all international organizations to prevent similar accidents. It is one of the key and solid positions that shall be demonstrated by our government during Geneva Talks because it is not connected with politics. If the peace corridor is opened, we will be secured of similar human tragedies. Similar practice is established in many countries,” Vakhtangashvili said. 

The State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Integrity Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said the Government of Georgia uses all formats to resolve all key problems of the residents of the occupied territories but the occupation regime hinders them. 

“I say everyday and everywhere that it is essentially important for the population to use the Akhalgori checkpoint, because it is extremely important for their life. Yes, the local population lives in critical situation. Unfortunately, it is not the only tragedy. The population need travelling because of their life-important needs, like this lady and her family needed. She was another victim of the occupation regime. Today I again call on everybody, like I did in the past, to open the Akhalgori passage immediately and without any conditions because people face real threats. People still need products and medicines, contacts with their family members and more. I know that some of them are afraid to contact even the Red Cross, which is the only international organization operating there. I want to tell the local population that while we are working hard every day and night to open the checkpoint but encounter with so many obstacles, they must not be afraid of traveling. In case of necessity, they should call the hotline or the Red Cross, or contact any state institution by phone or otherwise. It is the issue of their fundamental right to life,” Tsikhelashvili said and added that they, together with the Prime Minister of Georgia, spoke about the human rights of the citizens living in the occupied territory during the meeting with the Deputy Secretary General of the UN. 

“During the meeting with the UN Deputy Secretary General, I, together with the Prime Minister, spoke about this concrete tragedy and about the urgent necessity of opening the checkpoint to Akhalgori. We asked the UN to intensify their efforts to influence Russia, which exercises effective control over the occupied territory, to immediately make decision to open the checkpoint. Personally I informed all co-chairmen of the Geneva Talks, as well as the Red Cross, about the recent tragedy. Unfortunately, it was done only post-factum because before that we did not have information about this case. I want to assure everybody that all actors are working to open the so-called crossing point to Akhalgori. Not only Akhalgori district but Tskhinvali district population also faces humanitarian catastrophe because not only Georgian but Ossetian inhabitants of the region are also very much connected with the Akhalgori district. Tens people call me everyday who need urgent help,” Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said. 

De-facto government of South Ossetia closed the crossing point in Akhalgori district on September 4. The representatives of the Government of Georgia raise the question of opening the checkpoint since then in the frame of Ergneti and Geneva talks.

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