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Gal: null results but real use2009-08-11 23:59
Today Gal town (Abkhazia) welcomed the third meeting on incident prevention between representatives of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the EU and UN. The parties discussed the mechanism of Georgian-Abkhaz border crossing by residents of Gal and Zugdidi districts.
Though the negotiations had no real effect the parties underscored importance of the contacts to discuss urgent issues, VZGLYAD newspaper writes. The issue of free movement of citizens across the border raised by the Georgian side was the sticking point.
Now, as is known, strict rules are in force on Georgian-Abkhaz border. Official Sukhum asserts that the order on border is necessary to ensure security of local residents, prevent terrorist attacks and subversions. "District administration should be notified of border crossing up front, and permits that haven't been denied so far should be obtained", - Abkhaz FM Sergey Shamba recently told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
The negotiators also paid attention to information on alleged conflicts between Abkhaz and Russian border guards disseminated through the mass media with Georgia's help. (Georgia's Vice Speaker Paata Davitaya spoke about "a flare-up in Gal" and a possibility of "an armed conflict"). Abkhaz President's Plenipotentiary in Gal district Ruslan Kishmaria called Davitaya's "information" a provocation. "There is no confrontation between Abkhaz militaries and Russian border guards in Gal district, far from it, - Apsnypress quotes. - The situation in the district is stable, local residents understand necessity to reinforce the state border protection". According to Kishmaria, only statements like these can raise tensions in Gal district.
Nevertheless, difference of views doesn't affect the need to discuss near-border problems. As Georgia's state minister for reintegration Temur Yakobashvili said these meetings can be useful "in order to remove tension over certain issues".
As for reinforced protection of the border with Georgia, Sukhum decided so after aggravation of the situation on the Georgian-South Ossetian border. President Sergey Bagapsh recently remarked he believed August 2008 repetition was possible. "I think there is such a possibility", - he noted.
The events taking place on the Georgian-South Ossetian border confirm that. As long as the aggressive regime remains in power, it's very difficult to speak about security that is why now we are doing our best for our troops and those who work in defense to be on alert".