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EU takes Saakashvili at his kind word2010-12-16 12:42
The 15th round of stability and security talks over Transcaucasia will be held today in Geneva to be attended by representatives of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as intermediaries from Russia, the USA and international organizations. Delegations representing the sides are bringing their proposals to Switzerland but will the diplomats reach consensus? Criticism of the discussions that have been on for two years is getting louder each time. The European Union warns Mikheil Saakashvili: peaceful intentions must be confirmed by deeds.
It is by all means wrong to consider Geneva talks as an absolute failure. The diplomats working on this negotiation ground have managed to coordinate the procedure of local meetings in Ergneti and Gal. Geneva "subsidiaries" in these villages help Georgians, Abkhazians and Ossetians to sit down at one desk and discuss vital issues like border incidents and problems of border crossing in lack of interstate contacts.
Yet, it must be acknowledged, the local purposes can hardly be a worthy end of the representative forum that has been organized in the Swiss city for two years. Efficiency of this mechanism has been repeatedly challenged and some politicians said they would like to return home with real results, not only impressions of the famous Geneva fountain and Saint Paul's Cathedral.
By the way, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have paid close attention to the non-use of force draft that Georgia is supposed to sign. Indeed, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili's promise pronounced from the stand of the European Parliament for the West was peace in Caucasus and dialogue with Russia, but as practice shows, his words don't cost much. In August 2008 Saakashvili easily went back on his vows shelling sleeping Tskhinval. That is why legal guarantees that Georgia could undertake is the key issue for the Transcaucasian republics.
In the run-up to the next round of Geneva discussions the Abkhaz and Ossetian sides expect progress in this direction. And they have reasons to. In a recent interview with Kommersant, co-chairs of the discussions clearly stated that Tbilisi should confirm words about peace with real deeds. "This is quite a serious statement, so we look forward to a written statement from Georgia in confirmation of president Saakashvili's words", - Pierre Morel, EU envoy to Central Asia said. - We hope this speech will serve as the basis for future meetings and discussions".
Another important question to be discussed at the talks is displaced persons. Vyacheslav Chirikba, a plenipotentiary representative of Abkhazia has recently stated that the delegation from Sukhum plans to discuss verification of refugees who returned to Gal district, as Caucasian Knot reports. His desire to count up people is explained by the need to organize activities for their social and economic rehabilitation in places of their current residence. It is not that simple: Georgia still clings to its bygone territorial integrity considering the border with Abkhazia as administrative, not state. Nonetheless, Pierre Morel is positive on this issue. "I think the return of refugees must be solved without delay, and certainly this is a matter of principle, - he says. - Respect for human rights in the state of conflict and crisis is a key element of existence of an international community".