On 30 July 2020, the 96th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) took place in Ergneti, co-facilitated by Ambassador Marek Szczygieł, Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and Ambassador Rudolf Michalka, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus. In the wake of COVID-19, this first regular meeting of the Ergneti IPRM since August 2019 was accompanied by all the necessary precautionary health measures, and was held in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
The participants welcomed the new co-facilitator, Ambassador Szczygieł, to the IPRM and wished him success in his new assignment. The participants discussed several issues pertaining to stabilisation and normalisation on the ground, including the impact of the prolonged closure of the controlled crossing points along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) on local communities’ freedom of movement and livelihoods; the security situation in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area; recent detention cases; as well as other unresolved significant incidents. They also addressed issues pertaining to cross-ABL irrigation infrastructure management.
The co-facilitators welcomed the participants’ commitment to resume regular dialogue in the IPRM format, while commending the active use of the EUMM-managed hotline. The important role of the hotline and OSCE facilitation in lowering tensions, resolving incidents, and facilitating dialogue was underscored. Recalling instances where existing communication channels were used effectively, the co-facilitators emphasized the importance of timely information exchange through all available platforms in order to prevent incidents and reduce tensions along the ABL.
The co-facilitators also pointed out issues relating to the concerns of the conflict-affected population, and called on the participants to continue using the IPRM format for discussing a range of important practical issues. The co-facilitators further acknowledged the exacerbating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on stabilisation and normalisation, and expressed hope for further constructive and co-operative steps towards improving human security in local communities and maintaining general stability on the ground.
The participants agreed to plan for a subsequent meeting on 24 September 2020, situation permitting.
Head of Mission Ambassador Marek Szczygieł and Head of Operations, Mr. Ville Siikasalmi
The co-facilitators, the Head of Mission Ambassador Marek Szczygieł and the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus Ambassador Rudolf Michalka greet the leading Georgian participant
The co-facilitators meet the leading South Ossetian participant
The meeting has just opened
The meeting in progress
Head of EUMM summarises the 96th IPRM meeting in his interview with local media