NGOs Address the Government over the Advancement of Occupation Line into the territory of Tsiteliubani-Khurvaleti

On 10 July 2015, near the village of Orchosani and the territory of Tsitelubani-Khurvaleti, 
Russian occupation forces advanced the border of South Ossetia by several hundred meters into Georgian-controlled territory, which is an extremely alarming development for the security situation in Georgia. This action is a logical sequence to Russia’s recent annexation policy, including the recent signing of Integration and Partnership Agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Clearly, Moscow continues to seize Georgian territories and instill fear among civilian population, this time jeopardizing strategic infrastructure of Baku-Supsa Pipeline. Next time it could be Kartli 2 Power Line and most importantly, the Central Georgian Highway that will be put at risk. 

We believe that the situation calls for emergency measures. It is crucial to fundamentally revise the strategy of relations with Russia; otherwise, no measure will be successful. The cornerstone of our strategy must be regulating relations with Russia with the engagement and participation of the international community.

We propose a set of measures that the Government of Georgia should immediately take to counter the threat:

 Postpone the Karasin-Abashidze meeting in Prague and convene a special meeting of the Geneva Talks. Regarding such incidents as “normal” and leaving them unanswered will encourage similar practice in the future
 Fundamentally revise the strategy of relations with Russia, and on grounds of national security interests develop an action plan and a standard operating procedure in response to the crisis situation; 
 Intensify activities of the relevant offices of the MIA (including with the use of modern technology and monitoring tools) along the administrative border, for the timely reaction and prevention of similar provocations, as well as for protection of rights and security of the population living in borderline areas. It is especially important to intensify monitoring along the highway for prevention any serious threats to security in the future; 
 Deliver highest-level démarches (from the President and the Prime Minister) to our main partners (U.S., NATO, and EU states) to make them aware of the threats. Such spontaneous high-level communication has often proven effective to prevent further escalation;
 Invite high-level delegations from EU and other partner countries to alert them about the situation along the occupation line, and maintain awareness of the diplomatic corps;
 Make efforts to convene the UN Security Council and OSCE Permanent Council and keep the problem high on the agenda of all international organizations;
 Develop a national concept on free movement in the occupied territories and convene high-level meetings/conferences about this matter;
 File a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights to protect the rights of the people affected by the installation of the wire entanglements.

We, on our end, are ready to contribute to the maximum extent to protection of rights of the people affected by the advancement of the occupation line, and to communication with citizens about Georgia’s national security issues.

Lastly, we call on the government to immediately arrange a meeting with non-governmental organizations (for instance, within the format of security and crises management council) to discuss Georgia’s contemporary security challenges with the participation of civil society representatives.

Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS)
Atlantic Council of Georgia
Civil Development Agency (CIDA)
Media Development Fund (MDF)
Transparency International Georgia (TI)
Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies (GISS)
Public Movement Iveria
Georgian Democracy Initiative
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)
Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS)
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
Media Club
Article 42 of the Constitution
Baltic to Black Sea Alliance Georgia (BBSAG)
Mother of Soldier