Swiss company to monitor Abkhaz and South Ossetian border sections
Georgian Prime Minister’s Specials Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, told the Russian Kommersant media outlet, Russia and Georgia agreed to put into effect the 2011 deal, which provides for setting up a ‘trade corridor’ and monitoring of cargo traffic by the third party.
Under this document, the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of the Russian-Georgian border will be also subject to monitoring.
As Abashidze stated following the meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigori Karasin, in Prague, the parties agreed to ‘in small steps’ and address the issues that can be settlement without crossing the ‘red lines’
“We’ve decided to launch the 2011 deal that will allow to develop bilateral commercial, economic and transport relations,” Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative told the Kommersant.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, also confirmed the agreement. As he told theKommersant, the Swiss SGS company will execute the monitoring on the two countries’ border and the Swiss officials will start negotiating this issue with Moscow already in March this year. In Karasin’s words,the precise location of the customs checkpoints needs to be agreed. Afterwards, a contract with the SGS company will be signed. “We are ready to do that, we’ve already achieved considerable progress in this field and we will keep advancing so as to put all that into practice,” Karasin stated.
Sergi Kapanadze, MP and ex-Deputy Foreign Minister, responded through social media to Zurab Abashidze’s statement about the launch of the agreement. Kapanadze headed Georgian delegation during the talks in 2011. He expressed discontent over the slow pace of activation of the agreement. In Kapanadze’s words, ‘It’s absolutely unclear, what small steps are the parties talking about if 5 years have already passed since signing the deal.”
- Russia and Georgia signed the Agreement “On the basic principles for a mechanism of customs administration and monitoring of trade in goods” on November 9, 2011. It was a precondition for Georgia’s consent to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In exchange for that, official Tbilisi demanded control over the cargo traffic on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of the border.
- The agreement sets three ‘trade corridors’ between Russia and Georgia, one of which covers the territory of Abkhazia, another one – the territory of South Ossetia, whereas the third one – the Upper Lars border crossing area. The invited company officials will monitor the cargo traffic at both ends of the corridor and report to Tbilisi and Moscow. Consequently, there will be monitoring on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of the Russian-Georgian border as well – on Roki tunnel and the Psou River. The parties have chosen the Swiss SGS company for this mission.
- Russia-Georgia deal doesn’t specify the political status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.