On 9 November, the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) issued a statement in which it confirmed that significant borderisation activities have been taking place in the area of Atotsi (Balta) since early November 2018. A total of nearly 400 metres of new fencing works, running alongside the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with South Ossetia, have been observed by EUMM patrols in the area.
“The EUMM is closely monitoring and reporting on such borderisation activities that affect stability as well as the rights of people in the area,” said the EUMM. “Regrettably, such infrastructure creates additional obstacles for freedom of movement – and potentially the livelihoods – of the local population living on both sides of the ABL.”
The EUMM added that the Hotline that it manages has been used extensively to communicate on the matter in recent days. The EU Mission has been urging relevant security actors to avoid any further steps that could increase tensions.
“The situation in Atotsi underscores the importance of re-establishing the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Ergneti where matters like this affecting stability on the ground can be addressed,” highlighted the statement. “The EUMM as co-facilitator urges for a swift resumption of the IPRM format, which has since 2009 contributed to stability and security.”
The statement concluded that as the only international monitoring presence on the ground, the EUMM will continue to monitor the situation in the area 24/7. In line with its mandate, the Mission keeps EU institutions and EU Member States updated with an accurate picture of the situation on the ground.
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