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Monday, 25 June 2018


Geneva: results of the third round

2008-12-22 09:53

0/9/2/1092.pngIn Geneva the third round of talks on guaranteeing stability and security in the Caucasus have finished. Experts' predictions were proved correct - the parties did not manage to reach any concrete agreements. "The meeting took place in a constructive spirit, however no significant progress was made," the EU's special representative on Georgia Pierre Morel commented on the Geneva talks.


The participants in the talks only managed to agree definitively on holding another, fourth round of talks in Geneva. Diplomats from Abkhazia, Georgia, South Ossetia, Russia and the EU will discuss measures for achieving security and stability in the region on 17-18th February 2009.

On the eve of the Geneva meeting the situation in the region once again became inflamed: control of the border village of Perevi passed backwards and forwards - from Russian soldiers to Georgian policemen and back again. Occasional shootouts have been reported during the night. The Georgian and Russian foreign ministries exchanged accusatory statements. All the signs indicate that the conflict in the border regions will be protracted.

Of course, they did not manage to solve this series of problems at the current meeting. It should be noted that at the third round in Geneva the negotiators only started to embark on this long process and discussed a draft of the document "Preventing incidents and conflicts", prepared by the Europeans.

As Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports, this document should become the basis for establishing a mechanism for monitoring the situation. It is proposed that representatives of all sides could meet on a weekly basis and discuss any current problems. It provides for a meeting to be organized within three-four hours if required in an extreme case. The document also includes a paragraph about allowing European observers into Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The republics are against this. They insist on the presence of observers from the UN mission on their territory. The negotiators did not manage to reach a consensus on these issues, hence discussion of many items in this document will continue in February.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin noted at the final press conference that, despite the unresolved problems, the consultations proved to be useful and important. At the same time he stressed the need to continue deploying Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

South Ossetia's Foreign Minister Murat Dzhioev, commenting on the third round of international consultations, said that Georgia "excessively politicised" the discussion.

International mediators appraised the results of the talks without any particular emotion. The UN Secretary General's special representative on Georgia Johan Verbeke said that "the participants held preliminary and cautious discussions about the free movement of people through control points, without binding themselves to any commitments."

And Pierre Morel, who was mentioned earlier, stressed: "All those taking part in the consultations have been demonstrating a determination to make progress." A tried and tested formula was used during the discussions. Two working groups were in action: one discussed issues of security and stability, the other focused on the return of forcibly displaced people. The delegates were presented in their personal capacity, without any mention of the country that they represent. This removed the thorny issue of the status of the participants in the discussions. No plenary session took place.

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