NATO Lambasts Russian Fences in South Ossetia

Fence building "is not acceptable and should be reversed"

From RIA Novosti:  NATO on Thursday once again harshly criticized Russia’s construction of barbed-wire fences along an ex-Georgian region’s 350-kilometer border with that country. . . .

Speaking in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, on Thursday, NATO’s secretary general reiterated, nearly word-for-word, comments that he made early this month when the fences were reported.

Fence-building impedes freedom of movement. It can further inflame tensions. It is not acceptable and should be reversed,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the opening of Georgia’s National Parliamentary Library. . . .

Late last month, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said Russian border guards had installed barbed-wire fences along Georgia’s border with South Ossetia and had even pushed the border line inside Georgia.

Georgia maintains its claim to sovereignty over both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose Russia-proclaimed independence has been recognized by only a handful of other nations.

Rasmussen on Thursday urged Russia to maintain peace in the area, in keeping with an agreement signed in the wake of the August 2008 conflict. “Such moves [building fences] are contrary to international law, and they are contrary to the ceasefire agreement,” he said. . . .

Under an interstate agreement with Russia signed on April 30, 2009, South Ossetia delegated its border protection functions to Russia until the republic established its own border guard service.  (photo: Vladimir Fedorenko/RIA Novosti)

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