Renewed IPRM Meeting Discusses Fatal Incident at Georgia-Abkhaz Contact Line

GALI, Georgia – The first meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) was held on Friday at a UN Office in Gali, located between Georgia and its secessionist Abkhazia region.

A recent fatal incident in the village of Khurcha that left one Georgian citizen dead was the main topic of discussion at the meeting, which included representatives from Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the UN and OSCE.

The head of the analytical department of Georgia’s State Security Service, Irakli Beraia, emphasized that Georgia demanded that the Abkhaz hand over the separatist border guard accused of shooting a Georgian on May 19.

Related coverage: Georgia Launches Criminal Case against Abkhaz Guard for Killing Georgian Citizen

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"The meeting was constructive and was conducted in a peaceful environment. The discussions focused on the tragic incident in Khurcha.

We demanded from the Abkhaz side that the man who shot and killed a Georgian citizen be handed over to Georgian authorities to stand trial," Beraia said.

Abkhazia’s rebel Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba on Wednesday said that the IPRM is an important mechanism for discussing incidents that occur on the administrative line.

"It is very important that the incident, as well as other issues, be discussed constructively and that we find ways to resolve them," Chirikba said.

IPRM meetings are regularly held with Georgia’s another breakaway South Ossetia’s region, but meetings with the Abkhaz side in Gali are rare after contact between the two sides were suspended in March 2012.

In April 2012, Abkhazia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement accusing the European Union Monitoring Mission ignored their requests and continued to carry out independent checks without notifying the separatist government and their Russian patrons.

Immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian-backed rebels in Abkhazia broke away from Georgia. Moscow occupied and effectively annexed the area, as well as Georgia’s other breakaway South Ossetia region.

Moscow recognized South Ossetia and the other occupied Abkhazia region as independent states following the 2008 war.

International law and the United Nations continue to state that the regions remain part of Georgia.

The next IPRM meeting will be held in Gali on July 6.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

Photo: EUMM Georgia

27 May 2016 21:47