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Monday, 24 October 2016


Meetings in Gali: from political rhetoric to real deeds

2009-07-28 18:12

3487.jpegJuly 28, Gali district (Abkhazia): the second pentalateral meeting on incident prevention between representatives of Abkhazia, Russia, Georgia, the UN and EU is taking place with the parties intending to pass from technical issues to urgent problems.

"The meeting is supposed to cover issues on prevention of escalation of tension on Abkhaz-Georgian border", - Maxim Gvinjia, deputy head of Abkhaz Foreign Ministry told Apsnypress IA. - Besides we are going to raise the issue of Gali District Election Committee Head David Sigua abduction by the special services of Georgia. We will press the Georgian side for information.


As is known two weeks ago at the time of the first incident prevention meeting David Sigua's wife and sister were waiting for Johan Verbeke chairing the negotiations near the UN office. As RIA Novosti reports Sigua had disappeared in the run-up to the parliamentary election in the republic, in February 2006. Then five masked strangers armed with submachine guns broke into Sigua's home and took him away by force. It is believed in Sukhum that he is still kept in Tbilisi. Numerous requests to see into the situation were submitted to Georgia and international organizations. After the end of the negotiations on July 14 Verbeke received Sigua's relatives promising to bring this issue up with the representatives of Georgia at the next meeting.

At the negotiations the Abkhaz side is represented by President's Plenipotentiary in Gali District Ruslan Kishmaria, Maxim Gvinjia and Deputy Defense Minister Garri Kupalba. Tbilisi sent Shota Utiashvili, head of Interior Ministry's Information and Analytical Department. There also were UN representatives in charge of monitoring in Georgia, Russian Embassy and Federal Security Service Border Department in Abkhazia officers, ITAR TASS reports.

The first meeting held on July 14 was more like a consultation with the parties discussing technical issues and deciding to get together once a fortnight, on Tuesdays. Today's meeting is set against the background of talks on creation of new formats of the peacekeeping operations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the European Union's more active role in provision of stability in the Caucasus. The matter is that last week official Tbilisi called on Washington to invite overseas experts to the EU mission. It was decided in the US Department of State however that EU monitors "are coping with their duties well", and the EU was fully responsible for the mission's mandate. Yesterday FMs of the EU member states extended the mandate till September 14 2010 by increasing the number of missionaries from 225 to 300. Some media saw a reserve for Americans there.

Anyway, the discussion of the complicated issue will be resumed in Brussels in September, not before, and for the time being Tbilisi keeps making anti-Russian statements. On July 27 the parliamentary committee with reference to the "informed sources" stated that Russian militaries allegedly hampered free movement of people crossing the Georgian-Abkhaz border in Gali district, New Region reports. Curiously enough, "the human rights violation" was reported right before the talks in Gali.

Nevertheless the reaction of the Russian side to Tbilisi's "arguments" was quite calm.

"We consider it important to stop politicization of the pentalateral meetings, and to solve all issues for the benefit of people of Abkhazia and Georgia, especially in near-border districts, - Foreign Ministry Spokesman Andrey Nesterenko is quoted by News Georgia. - We stand for them to continue in a constructive key aimed at a visible result".

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