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The European Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is concerned about the deployment, as of December 24, of armoured COBRA vehicles to the areas close to the South Ossetian and Abkhazian administrative boundary lines. This deployment takes place against EUMM’s advice.

EUMM Head of Mission, Ambassador Hansjörg Haber, stated:
“The deployment of COBRA vehicles is not in violation of the relevant provisions of the 6 Points – Plan of 12 August and the Implementation Agreement of 8 September. However, EUMM has consistently advised against the deployment of these military-type vehicles because it firmly believes that they will not contribute to enhancing the security situation on the ground.

With ten Georgian police officers having been killed in the areas adjacent to the South Ossetian and the Abkhaz administrative boundary lines since the ending of hostilities, I understand the Georgian authorities’ wish to provide more security for their policemen deployed to these areas. However, not in one of the instances in which Georgian police officers have been killed since EUMM began its monitoring activities could this have been prevented by the presence of an armoured vehicle.

There have been most deplorable incidents in the adjacent areas, including the aforementioned attacks on police officers. There is a sense of insecurity prevailing in the immediate vicinity of the administrative boundary lines. But on the whole, EUMM would still assess the security situation as better than expected so far. The restraint shown by Georgian law enforcement officers has played an important role in maintaining this level of security.

Any COBRA vehicles deployed nevertheless should at least be clearly marked as police vehicles. This is not the case for all COBRA vehicles observed by EUMM in the field so far.”  

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