Tbilisi Blames Russia for “Destructive Attitude” at Geneva Int’l Discussions

Official Tbilisi says Russia and de facto authorities of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia again acted “irresponsibly” at the 48th round of Geneva International Discussions (GID) held on July 2-3 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stressed that participants from Moscow, occupied Sokhumi and Tskhinvali demonstrated a “destructive attitude” as usual and left the negotiating room while discussing the issues on the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions.

The Georgian side stressed that Russia exercises power in breakaway regions and is to be held responsible for the gross violation of human rights there. However, Moscow says it is not the side of the conflict.

The discussions, which represent the only format of an ongoing international dialogue between Georgia and Russia, are usually held with the co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and with the participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The representatives of Georgia’s breakaway regions, the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes, also attend the working group sessions.

The talks are usually held within a two meeting-group format. At one meeting, the sides discuss security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while the second meeting concerns the dignified and safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) says the Co-Chairs of the talks “regretted the disruption of the round and called on participants to constructively engage on all agenda items.”

They also regretted the crossing restrictions imposed on 27 June at the Abkhaz administrative boundary line. They called for these restrictions to be lifted without delay. OSCE says these measures have negatively affected freedom of movement, especially of persons in need of medical assistance and students traveling to take exams.

The MFA says the Russian Federation grossly violates the EU ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and urged Moscow to fully fulfil its international obligations, including the withdrawal of occupation forces from the Georgian territory.

Among the top issues of the talks were the killings of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili in breakaway South Ossetia who received 100 injuries prior to his death in 2018, of Giga Otkhozoria in May 2016, of Davit Basharuli murdered in unclear circumstances in breakaway Tskhinvali in 2015 and Irakli Kvaratskhelia in 2019, who died in unclear circumstances at the Russian military base in breakaway Abkhazia. The Georgian side requested from Russia all the information regarding the last case.

The GID stated that the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Gali and Ergneti, which have not been successful of late, need to be continued.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Lasha Darsalia, the 48th round of Geneva International Talks ended without any results.

“As you know, the format of the Geneva negotiations focuses on the implementation of a 6-point agreement. Unfortunately, we do not have progress regarding any point," Darsalia said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin believes there is no other alternative than GID.

“There is no other format. We should either gather in Geneva or increase the armed forces and start a war. I am saying this roughly, but the Geneva discussions are a good way against neurosis and negativity in the South Caucasus," he told the reporters after the talks.

The next round of Geneva International Discussions will take place on October 8-9.

By Thea Morrison

Photo source: 1 TV

04 July 2019 17:35