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Georgia’s Geneva puzzle instead of specifics2008-12-15 17:50
On December 12 at the meeting with the UN representatives in Sukhum Abkhazia stated that at the coming third round of Geneva talks it is intended to raise an issue of resumption of the weekly four-party negotiations in Chuburkhinji (Galsky district in Abkhazia) interrupted in 2006. This time with the representatives from Abkhazia, UN, Russia and Georgia. The latter however has already rejected the initiative.
For the first time the resumption of talks issue was made public right after the August war but was not continued. And now Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Shamba was back to it in his conversation with the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy Johan Verbeke.
Formerly for over a decade once a week Chuburkhinji welcomed practically the same set. Russia was represented by the peacekeeping forces. There was a constant issue of the situation in the so called security zone on the agenda (frontier zones of Galsky and Zugdidsky districts). The negotiations did not lead to significant progress. And they were suspended following Georgia's special operation in Kodori gorge which was preceded by Emzar Kvitsiani's (Georgia's ambassador in Svanetia) and his local supporters' demand of resignation of all leaders of Georgian power structures by threatening an armed revolt. Thereupon these very power structures carried out a proactive military operation in the gorge situated in Kvitsiani's "patrimonial estate". And they remained there afterwards. Abkhazia expressed protest against the frontier zone militarization. It did not take effect. Naturally no talks could be continued thereafter.
Tbilisi is categorical about not resuming the four-party negotiations in Chuburkhinji bringing forward its arguments - now in connection with the August events. "Resumption of meetings in Chuburkhinji legalizes the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia - state minister for reintegration Temur Yakobashvili states. - Formerly the meetings were held in the Russian peacekeeping format, and they are not there now, while the territory of Abkhazia is occupied".
Yakobashvili also noted that the Georgian side had prepared "its own suggestions on the security issue on the administrative border instead of meetings resumption in Chuburkhinji format". He did not however specify which.
Some local politologists give the following explanation of the Georgian leaders' logic: the resumption of talks in Chuburkhinji will challenge the utility of the EU representatives in the territory of Abkhazia.
On December 12 at the meeting with the UN delegation Sergey Shamba suggested that the UN mission mandate should be extended and adjusted by altering the title itself (now it is "The UN Monitoring Mission in Georgia" and the mandate expires in February. The decision on prolongation is taken every six months).
As Shamba says the Abkhazian side is positive about the UN representatives' activity in the country "that is why official Sukhum suggests maintaining practically all the functions that have hereunto been assigned to the UN».
The Foreign Minister noted that "some adjustments are required in connection with the withdrawal of the CIS Collective Forces out of the conflict area and the termination of the Cease-Fire and Disengagement Agreement as of May 14 1994 (for now both these facts have not been reflected in the mandate) and also considering Abkhazia's new status. According to Shamba the attempts of the Georgian side to push the UN out and force the EU in are not constructive. He emphasized: "The European Union has no such experience and capabilities as the UN does that may guarantee safety".