TSKHINVAL, December 30 (Itar-Tass) — Georgia and South Ossetia have exchanged prisoners. The mutual transfer of persons under investigation or serving a prison term - 13 from each side, took place on the Georgian - South Ossetian border on Friday.
The prisoners’ exchange was carried out in the presence of officials of South Ossetia, Georgia and Russia. Now the South Ossetian citizens released from Georgian prisons will be taken to Tskhinval where they will meet their relatives. The agreement on the mutual transfer of prisoners was reached at the 18th round of the Geneva consultations on security in Transcaucasia.
The eighteenth round of the Geneva international discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia was completed December 14, 2011. Delegations of the Republic of South Ossetia, Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, USA, the EU, UN and OSCE have taken part in the meeting the RES news agency of South Ossetia reported earlier.
South Ossetia’s delegation was headed by Plenipotentiary of the President Boris Chochiev. The informational session on the legal aspects and international practice regarding the issue of missing persons was held within the framework of the meeting, held on December, 13. In the course of the discussions on December 14 the participants exchanged views on the current situation on the border of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with Georgia. It was noted that though the situation remains stable, ongoing violation of the state border, including the Georgian unmanned aerial vehicles often take place, the agency reported.
Positive results of the meetings have been assessed within the framework of mechanisms on prevention and reaction to incidents, where measures on resolving the state border incidents have been taken. Delegation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia once again stressed the need to work on delimitation of the state border with Georgia, it said. As at the previous meetings, the South Ossetian delegation focused on more active work on developing the legally binding document on the non-use of force, confirming rejection of Georgia the military actions against South Ossetia and providing safety guarantees. Russian Federation and the Republic of South Ossetia offered their draft of the document. At the same time the necessity of taking into account the basic conclusions of the report of the European Union independent commission which has recognized responsibility of Georgia for the armed aggression against South Ossetia in August, 2008 has also been underlined at the meeting.
Georgia’s attempts to impose the entirely illegal use of the term “occupied territory” - in relation to the Republic of South Ossetia and Abkhazia -on the international community, as well as shifting of the issue of security guarantees onto the Russian-Georgian relations, was criticised at the meeting. South Ossetian delegation suggested discussing the subject of legitimacy of using the term “occupation” in relation to the Republic of South Ossetia by some international organizations. Having focused attention of the participants on new facts regarding the missing citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia in 2008, the South Ossetian representatives demanded to intensify efforts on determination their destiny and put this issue as the constant item on the agenda at the following meetings. The next round of Geneva talks is scheduled for March 28-29, 2012.