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EUMM proposes measures to allow free access of the population to religious sites at the fourth Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting

04.09.2009

Georgian, South Ossetian and Russian representatives attended the fourth meeting in the framework of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), facilitated by the EU Monitoring Mission, on September 3 in Ergneti.

As the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) Hansjörg Haber stated after the meeting, “Such meetings are important to achieve stability in the region. The idea is to leave the issues pertinent to the Geneva talks to Geneva and address in the IPRM concrete questions that affect the lives of people on the ground. One of the issues discussed was access to churches and religious sites. The population must be enabled to go to the cemeteries and pray at churches and feel protected and secure and we started looking into that with all participants in the meeting”. Other substantial issues discussed included the movement of local people across the administrative boundary line and recent incidents and detentions on both sides.

The meeting provided an opportunity for a useful exchange of views, including a brief assessment of the general security situation.

It was preliminary agreed that the next meeting would take place, on September 24, after the next Round of Geneva talks that is scheduled on September 17.