TSKHINVAL, October 11. /TASS/. South Ossetian representatives to the Geneva international discussion on security and stability in Transcaucasia on October 9-10 pointed to outbreaks of diseases atypical to the region infecting humans and animals over the past few years, linking these illnesses to the activity conducted by the Lugar Center near Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi where lethal and infectious bioweapons are being studied.
"South Ossetian representatives pointed out to the Geneva international discussion that over the recent years, outbreaks of diseases atypical to the region have been infecting people and animals caused by new virus strains. That said there is a high probability that this is linked to the activity of the so-called Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center," the South Ossetian delegation’s report stated at the conclusion of the event.
It also said that the Geneva discussion saw an in-depth exchange of opinions on issues of security and stability along the South Ossetian and Abkhazian borders with Georgia. It said military exercises involving NATO contingents close to the borders of South Ossetia were a factor jeopardizing regional stability and security.
The South Ossetian delegation also pointed to incidents of intentional violation of the state border, qualifying them as ‘provocations by the Georgian side’. In order to minimize border incidents and strengthen stability, the South Ossetian delegation once again urged the Georgian side to get down to joint work on the delimitation and demarcation of the border between Georgia and South Ossetia.
It also emphasized the importance of the Joint Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, urging the Georgian side not to set conditions that stall its activity. The South Ossetian side once again urged Georgia to abandon such rhetoric as ‘occupation’ and ‘occupied territories’ with regard to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, reiterating that inadmissibility of such terms had been confirmed back at the 20th round of discussion with the participation of international experts.
The 45th round of the international discussion on security and stability in Transcaucasia brought together representatives from Abkhazia, Georgia, South Ossetia, Russia, the US, and co-chairs the EU, the UN and the OSCE. Discussions are underway in two groups one for security issues the other for the humanitarian situation.
During the final years of the Soviet era, South Ossetia began its struggle for independence from Georgia, which itself declared its intention to secede from the Soviet Union.
On November 10, 1989, the Council of People’s Deputies of the South Ossetian Autonomous Region transformed the region into an autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR, which unleashed a four-month blockade of Tskhinval by Georgian nationalists. On September 20, 1990, the parliament of South Ossetia proclaimed the establishment of the republic and in January 1991, Georgian troops were deployed to South Ossetia. According to various estimates, from 2,000 to 4,000 people were killed in the armed conflict that raged from November 1990 to July 1992.
Under the Dagomys agreement concluded in 1992, Russian peacekeepers entered South Ossetia to settle the conflict. Along with Russian forces, the peacekeeping mission included a Georgian battalion and a North Ossetian one.
The peacekeepers performed their mission until August 2008. In the early hours of August 8, 2008, Georgia attacked South Ossetia, following which Russia moved to defend civilians, many of whom held Russian citizenship, along with Russia’s peacekeepers.
As a result of the five-day war, the Georgian troops were driven out of South Ossetia. The conflict claimed over 1,000 lives, including those of 72 Russian servicemen. On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and in 2009, a Russian military base was established in the republic.