EU-Georgia relations

EU Raises Concerns on Breakaway Region of Abkhazia

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Photo: blogs.ft.com

The Spokesperson for the High Representative of European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, commented on the current situation in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia. On December 28, 2016, the de facto government of Abkazia decided to close two crossing points along the administrative boundary line (ABL). According to the statement from Mogherini's spokesperson, the closures will cause a larger risk of detentions and “will be detrimental to the freedom of movement of the population, including school children, on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line."

The full statement reads as follows:

"The announced closure of two crossing points along the Administrative Boundary Line of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia - Nabakevi-Khurcha and Meore Otobaia-Orsantia - which are used daily by hundreds of commuters, will be detrimental to the freedom of movement of the population, including school children, on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line. It will likely increase the risk of incidents, especially detentions.

Such a unilateral decision would go against commitments to work towards enhanced security and improved living conditions for the conflict-affected population. Furthermore, it would be contrary to efforts to normalise the situation by creating an atmosphere that is not conducive to longer-term conflict resolution and overall stability in the region.

The European Union, therefore, calls for the maintenance of the opening of the crossing points to ensure the freedom of movement, including humanitarian crossings. Furthermore, the participants in the Geneva International Discussions should engage constructively in enhancing security and improving living conditions for the conflict-affected population.

The European Union continues to closely follow the situation along the Administrative Boundary Line, including through the enhanced presence of its monitoring mission (EUMM). The European Union reaffirms its full support to Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally-recognised borders."

On December 12, 2016 Foreign ministers of the EU decided that the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) should be extended for an additional 2 more years with an 18 million euro budget.

The EUMM originally launched in 2008 after the Russian-Georgian August war, with the aim to stabilise the situation, while at the same time facilitate a political dialogue between the Georgian authorities and Russian-backed secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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