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Cautious optimism after the Ergneti meeting2009-04-27 20:54
For the first time after the last August events the representatives of Georgia, South Ossetia and Russia have met at the negotiating table in the South Caucasus. On April, 23, in the Georgian village of Ergneti, they have discussed the mechanism of the incident prevention and agreed upon the "hot line" arrangement in accordance with the decisions adopted at the latest round of negotiations in Geneva.
"The meeting can be characterized as fruitful, - RIA Novosti is quoting Merab Chigoev, Deputy Envoy of the South-Ossetian President on post-conflict settlement. - We managed to discuss some organizational matters of the future negotiations. No one expected this meeting to be just a pleasant stroll because we have to start from point zero. It's a new format".
Sergey Antonov, the Russian party's representative, First Deputy Chief of the RF Army Forces, reported on one of the most important decisions taken in Ergneti in respect of the near-border incidents response. "The participants of the meeting will keep communicating via a 24-hour "hot line" providing constant negotiations aimed at restoring trust and mitigation of tension in the region, - ITAR-TASS is quoting him. - Appropriate officials have been appointed for that purpose". Sergey Antonov also stated that the parties have agreed upon the necessity to hold such meetings twice a month, and to hold special meetings in case of emergency. It was also agreed upon that the meetings will take place in Georgia, in the territory adjoining South Ossetia. The nearest meeting is to be held in the same Georgian village of Ergneti within the first decade of May.
"We are aiming to ensure timely and adequate response in the field of security, including cooperative briefings on a regular basis, to ensure the security of the main infrastructure units, resistance to criminal activities, humanitarian supplies provision and the settlement of other issues concerning stability and security with the focus on the incident prevention and timely response", - the Russian representative underlined. Shota Utiashvili, Head of the Research and Information Department of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, is holding by the same opinion. "Our task is to provide the security of the regional residents, - RBK is quoting him. - It is necessary to settle the procedural matters to trigger the incident prevention mechanism. Utiashvili also expressed hope that the incident prevention mechanism will be fully agreed upon during the May meeting in Ergneti.
Well, it seems rather reassuring that the participants of the meeting are aiming at efficient future cooperation.