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Tskhinval’s response to gas blockade2009-02-18 15:07
From April 1 the water transit from South Ossetia to Georgia will be for a fee. This decision was taken by the republic's president Edward Kokoyty.
According to Rosbalt at the weekly meeting of the government the president emphasized:
"Please inform the Georgian side about it, - he is quoted by Rosbalt. - And now we have to do necessary financial work in order to determine the price for the water use". Kokoyty also added that in case the Georgian side refuses to pay for the coming water the water supply will be cut.
Well, it looks like a stiff decision. By the way it might add to the tension between Tbilisi and Tskhinval that has been quite intense without that. It's a paradox though it's a fact: more than once did "water conflicts" aggravate the situation to the limit. Here is the story of two years ago.
Then water supply of South Ossetia was interrupted due to "alertness" of Georgian enclaves residents (Kurta and Kheiti villages) that as Izvestia were reporting had set up illegal water pipeline tie-ins. The way of South Ossetian specialists sent to fix the damages was always blocked by armed power officers from Georgia. Well, as the saying goes "might makes right", unless it is "some other might": then South Ossetia decided on disconnection of irrigation canals that fed apple gardens of Gory district in Georgia. The confrontation was eased only with the help of OSCE experts for whom the Georgian militaries made way and allowed Ossetian specialists to carry out repair work. After that Tskhinval resumed irrigation.
In a certain way this story reminded of a notorious "gas blockade" of South Ossetia initiated following the August events. Indeed the scenario is the same: no supply - no fuel supply this time; Ossetians prohibited to examine the Georgian section of the gas line. The problem was resolved after the pipe was inspected by the OSCE delegation that confirmed serviceability of the South Ossetian part. Though the head of Georgian Energy Ministry Alexander Khetaguri had been obstinate in convincing the people of the opposite.
Here is another complication with gas supplies to Tskhinval. Pressure in pipes dropped tenfold. Again the Georgian side shifts all the blame onto the neighbors. Gazprom specialists took a look at the South Ossetian section of the gas line finding no problem with it. Georgia had to admit - there is a defect but on their side. They promised to make necessary repairs as soon as possible.
It looks like Edward Kokoyty's patience eventually snapped.