Uista is a serious hotbed of tension: Anatoly Bibilov at the meeting with the EU, UN and OSCE co-chairs from the EU, UN and OSCE


The issues that are raised at the Geneva platform should be based on justice, President of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov said on Thursday during the meeting with the EU, UN and OSCE co-chairs, who arrived in Tskhinval to discuss the agenda of the upcoming round in Geneva.

At the beginning of the dialogue, the head of state has informed the diplomats that the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic has been recently celebrated in the Republic of South Ossetia. He made a small excursion into the recent history of South Ossetia, outlined the reasons that prompted the people of South Ossetia to proclaim a republic and choose the path to independence.

"Even then, the Georgian leadership, headed by Zviad Gamsakhurdia, proposed to" sweep out all non – Georgians, in particular, Ossetians, over the Caucasus ridge with an iron broom," he reminded.

Bibilov told the co-chairs about the genocide of the Ossetian people by Georgia, which it had committed for many decades. The President reminded the diplomats that one of the military leaders of Georgia, Valiko Jugeli, wrote: "There is nothing more beautiful than the burning of Ossetian houses."

“All these events pushed the Ossetian people to preserve themselves as a nation, as an ethnic nationality. Moreover, this concerned not only Ossetians, but also representatives of other nationalities living in South Ossetia, including Georgians,” the President explained.

The head of state has also recalled the August 2008 war, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, which was fully confirmed by the EU special commission.

The head of state called the Geneva discussions an important platform where the RSO has the opportunity to bring its position to the world community and talk about the ongoing processes. The President has added that South Ossetia is ready to continue its cooperation in this direction.

“But at the same time, some questions arise. The main goal of the discussions is the signing of a legally binding document on the non-use of force by Georgia against South Ossetia. South Ossetia has never used force against Georgia, but the neighborhood should be friendly. The main task is to sign a document on the non-use of force,” Bibilov said.

He called the IPRM format effective, noting that it fully justifies its goals, and therefore South Ossetia intends to continue working within the format.

“We will create all conditions to improve the efficiency of the IPRM., we also hope that we will promptly respond and resolve all the issues between South Ossetia and Georgia,” the President stressed.

Security is a key issue

“The issue of the illegal Georgian post in the area of ​​the Uista village in Znaur district of South Ossetia remains topical,” Anatoly Bibilov said.

“We did not escalate the tension and decided to neutralize the issue by political means, we also raised it at the Geneva discussions, and I hope there will be a solution. I would like to note that in many respects its decision depends on you - the co-chairs of the discussions,” the President noted.

The EU Co-Chair Toivo Klaar expressed gratitude to Anatoly Bibilov for his appreciation of the Geneva process. According to him, diplomats are working on the effectiveness of negotiations, but "the final result depends on the participants themselves."

“You spoke about the non-use of force,” Klaar said to Bibilov, “and, of course, this issue is a key issue in the discussions. Many participants made statements regarding the non-use of force. In the context of the Geneva Discussions, it is necessary to work together for a common understanding of the “non-use of force”. That is why we pay great attention to human security, safety of people in the territories. We know that people living in the vicinity suffer the most from conflicts. Therefore, in Geneva we talk about the importance of human security on the ground. And in this vein, I want to say that there is a different understanding of this issue and different groups, including people living in Leningor. "

Referring to the situation in Uista, the international diplomat has added that they are well aware, but "there are different issues, and they must also be resolved separately, for the benefit of the people of this area."

Anatoly Bibilov has emphasized that South Ossetia does not divide the population by district and pay equal attention to all residents.

“We have the same living conditions in all districts. For example, in Lininger district, which you talk about most of all, we have built new roads, improved the territory, provided all segments of the population with a full package of social benefits. And it is wrong to speak only about the Leningor region. After all, people in Uista cannot walk calmly even in their locality, and you are talking about crossing the border for residents of Leningor district. The post in Uista is not the safety of the population, which you are talking about, but on the contrary, the creation of tension. Whista is a serious hotbed of tension,” he said.

Living in good neighborliness

The OSCE Co-Chair Annika Seder has noted that both the Geneva process and the IPRM are aimed at easing conditions, and they are trying to resolve the Uista-Chorchana issue. “We want to help solving the problem of people who want to cross the border. The IPRM is an important format, and it is necessary to continue the correct approach to the format that Tskhinval has. In the near future, it is possible that Tskhinval and Tbilisi will not have a unified position regarding their views on the administrative line. We, as mediators, try to make efforts to improve the lives of people affected by the conflict. And in Geneva, a constructive and open dialogue can reduce tensions,” the diplomat said.

The President fully supported the opinion of the UN representative regarding the reduction of tension and noted, returning to the Uista problem, that before the setting up of the illegal Georgian post on the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia, nothing foreshadowed tensions.

“This is a unilateral decision by Georgia. If for 11 years there were no problems in Znaur district, there was no threat against residents on both sides of the border, then the decision to set up a post on the territory of South Ossetia is only a provocation. Moreover, we did not take the necessary measures, as we were sure that within the framework of the Geneva discussions Georgia would be informed of the incorrectness of their decision, and they would remove the post. Unfortunately, this has not been done,” the head of state said.

Bibilov has specified that the South Ossetian-Georgian border is about 345 kilometers, and Georgia can create the same situation at any sections.

“We want to live in good neighborliness with all our neighbors ... To heal a wound, it is necessary to remove a splinter. And in this case, the post in Uista acts as a splinter, which does not allow us to work in full both in Geneva and at the IPRM. Why we can’t solve it, I don’t understand,” the president explained.

A fair approach

The Head of State said that if there were no Russian armed forces and Border Control officers in South Ossetia, Georgia would have really fulfilled the "Clean Field" plan in 2008.

“Russia is a deterrent. It is not clear to us when Georgia talks about occupation. In South Ossetia, president and parliament are elected by people, they are appointed to positions by decree of the head of state, etc. A striking example of the occupation by Georgia is Uista. The issues that are raised at the Geneva platform should be based on justice. If there is a fair approach, there will never be any problems either on the border or nearby,” the President said.

Cihan Sultanoglu, The UN Co-Chair, agreed with her colleagues on the importance of the IPRM format.

“We feel the commitment of all participants to the format. As mediators, we are working hard to ensure that progress is made on the key issues of the Geneva Discussions. Non-use of force and international security are key issues in the format. And since each party has its own vision and opinion, we act as innovators and look for new ways to make progress. We look forward to the desire of all participants to cooperate with us in finding innovative ways to gradually but effectively resolve the issues, and at the same time we are looking for the ways to ensure the well-being of local residents,” she explained.

The diplomat has added that they are committed to productive discussions so that progress can be reached at least in a year.

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