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New wave of occupation in Khashuri municipality

20.01.2020

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

The occupation regime renewed the illegal borderization in the Georgia-controlled Tsagvli-Chorchana forest in Khashuri municipality in the beginning of January 2020 and on January 14, the occupation fences were already installed. The member of the anti-occupation movement Davit Katsarava said the occupants target the Chorchana village based Georgian police blockpost. He is afraid that unless the occupation process is stopped, by spring the Georgian blockpost will be under the siege of the occupant regime. 
“The Russians are moving towards the Georgian blockposts and they plan to surround them with the new occupation line. Supposedly, it will happen in spring; before that they will surround the misappropriated territories,” Katsarava said.

Representatives of the State Security Service stated that occupation forces made illegal installment nearby Chorchana village. 

“The provocative activities of the occupation forces in the forest nearby Chorchana and Tsagvli villages in Khashuri municipality were raised during the meetings in the frame of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms and during the Geneva Talks. The hotline over this issue is working every day. All international mechanisms are active. The international partners many times demonstrated consolidated position with regard the ongoing developments near Chorchana village. We continue consultations with the international partners to organize the next meeting in the frame of the IPRM in near future, where the central authority will strictly demand dismantlement of the illegal installations in the forest,” the statement of the State Security Service reads.

The occupation regime activated the illegal borderization process after the Georgian police blockpost was constructed in the area.  For the past five months, the representatives of the central government of Georgia and Tskhinvali de-facto government could not reach agreement how to overcome the crisis. Tskhinvali de-facto government continues speech with ultimatum with the central authority – they will open the crossing point in Akhalgori district only after the Georgian side removes the police blockpost in Chorchana. The occupation regime forbade the residents of the occupied Akhalgori to travel to the Georgia-controlled territory five months ago after the Georgian police blockpost was opened in Chorchana. 

On December 26, 2019, before New Year, local population of Akhalgori district met Anatoly Bibilov, the de-facto president of Tskhinvali region, with protest. They demanded Bibolov to open the closed crossing points and restore movement. Bibilov told the people they had to demand solution of the problem from the Government of Georgia and not from him. 

“I, as a commander-in-chief of the Republic, bear responsibility to ensure security of this district and general population of the republic. When the Georgian side constructed the police post near Tsnelisi village and local population became their targets, I could not act otherwise. You can demand the solution from the Georgian side. In the past years, I promised you that the road will not be closed; we indeed never closed it until the Georgian side compelled us to do it. We could not predict what the Georgian side will do,” Bibilov told the locals.

The State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia Ketevan Tsikhelashvili reacted to the fact of illegal installment of fences nearby Chorchana and Tsagvli villages on January 14 and said that in order to stop illegal actions of the occupation forces the GoG continues work on daily basis. As for the situation in Akhalgori district, she said the occupation regime keeps local population in humanitarian crisis.

“They connected the full restriction of the movement towards Akhalgori district with their unlawful plans and desires in Chorchana village. It means the local population is taken hostage. They wish to oppress the people and Georgian side that is inadmissible not only politically and legally but also considering the human norms because there is humanitarian crisis and it is necessary to restore movement to avoid even the worse,” Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said.

The five months have been unbearable for the residents of the occupied Akhalgori district. They complain about the humanitarian crisis and state that about 10 people have died in the past five months because families could not take them to the Tbilisi based hospital. Because of the closed crossing points, retired people could not get pensions during five months that further aggravates their state. 

“Population of our district has been hostage for 131 days already. About 10 persons have died because their families were not allowed to take them to Tbilisi. The gravely sick people could not go to Tbilisi to take chemical-therapy courses. The retired people, whose only income is the pension they get as citizens of Georgia, have not received their pensions since August 2019. I do not know how they buy the firewood or pay electricity bills. I miss my daughter, who cannot arrive here. The only way to travel to Tbilisi now is via Sinaguri, and it takes 9 hours to reach Tbilisi. That alternative itinerary is expensive and not everybody can get permit. The permits were expired in December 2019. The permits need just seals and dates to be expanded but it takes months; therefore, majority of the local population does not have the permit. Even if the road is opened, the retired people, who do not have permits expanded, will not be able to travel and the government will say that they did not take an advantage of the opened crossing point. You can inform the government about our situation. We request freedom of movement or let the Government appeal the European Court of Human Rights or negotiate with the decision-maker powers or individuals to find some solution to the problem,” civil activist from Akhalgori district Tamar Merakishvili said. 

Tskhinvali de-facto government is not going to open the closed crossing points until the police blockpost is removed in Chorchana. The GoG responses to their ultimatum that they are not considering the issue of the police blockpost at all because it is located on the Georgia-controlled territory. Reporter of the Radio Liberty Goga Aptsiauri believes that the parties shall find some solution and it can be relinquishment of the Chorchana blockpost to the EUMM. 

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