Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Withdrawal of the Russian Border Post from Perevi Village on the Border between Georgia and the Republic of South Ossetia

Acting in a spirit of goodwill, the Russian side has relocated deep into South Ossetia the border post that was for two years in disputed territory near the village of Perevi (western border of South Ossetia with Georgia).

This was preceded by serious preparation. Under the auspices of Russia’s FSB Border Service, a 10-plus km bypass road had been built in difficult mountain terrain to connect the Karzmanskoye Gorge to the rest of South Ossetia. It is important in supplying the local Ossetian population.

The main parameters of relocation of our border guards had been preliminarily discussed with the leadership of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. We had confirmed that we were intending to lift from the agenda this repeatedly raised lately by our western partners technical, in fact, problem subject to the provision by the EU Mission of clear security guarantees on the Georgian side of the border, and the conduct by the Mission leadership of the relevant “educational” work with Tbilisi in order to prevent any possible provocations. It was important to avoid a repetition of the events of December 2008 when the first attempt at a voluntary withdrawal of the Russian post had already been attempted, but failed because after the pullout of Russian troops Perevi was immediately occupied by a large force of Georgian Interior Ministry special forces, and Georgia’s propaganda presented the matter as its “big victory.” Then a real threat arose for the South Ossetians living in the Karzmanskoye Gorge, and our border guards were forced to return to Perevi.

The necessary assurances from the EU mission had been given to us. The withdrawal of the Russian border post was performed this time in the presence of EU observers. There was no interference from a small unit of Georgian police. The EU mission will monitor the situation in Perevi by its observers, at least for a few weeks until the situation has fully stabilized in the area.

We hope that this move of the Russian side, aimed at reducing tensions on the borders of Georgia and South Ossetia, will receive adequate and constructive response from the Georgian side and the international community.

With the withdrawal of the Russian border post from Perevi the issue of alleged non-compliance by us with the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement has been definitively closed. The borders of the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia are securely protected by Russian border guards on the basis of the bilateral agreements with these states, of April 30, 2009.

October 19, 2010