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Who’s going to Geneva?2008-11-13 14:19
The second round of negotiations in Geneva on security in the Caucasus is under the threat of breakdown. For the past month the parties' positions have not changed. Georgia is advancing its demands while Abkhazia and South Ossetia have their own.
Abkhazia is being obstinate and insists on having an equal status with other participants of the meeting. The same demand is put forward by South Ossetia. The EU, UN and OSCE representatives first went to Tsukhum, then to Tskhinval to persuade the leaders of the Caucasian republics to take part in these negotiations. The delegates visited Tbilisi too. In fact nobody is ready to dialogue.
Abkhazia's leaders immediately made it clear to the diplomats that they would not come to any terms. "If somebody thinks of presenting Abkhazia as a Georgian region, this will not happen", - President Sergey Bagapsh stated at the meeting with Pierre Morel, the European Union's special envoy for crisis issues in Georgia. "In this quality we have not participated in any meeting even when we were not recognized. Now this is still more unreal", - he added.
The Head of the Foreign Office of South Ossetia also stated that the delegation would go to Geneva provided the conditions were acceptable. Today the group of Western diplomats - the above mentioned Pierre Morel, deputy head of Finland's delegation to OSCE Jeanne Talas, and the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Johan Verbke went to South Ossetia. It is to be guessed what agreements were made. In follow up of the visit Pierre Morel made a comment without sharp corners: "We have worked productively and will meet in Geneva next week. We will continue our joint efforts". Johan Verbke in his turn noted that the meetings with the leaders of South Ossetia had a friendly and constructive atmosphere.
However the perspective of bringing Tbilisi, Tsukhum and Tskhinval to the conference table for the second time is as vague as the diplomats' speeches.
It is noteworthy that Russia gave an opportunity of direct contact with Tskhinval and Sukhum without being an intermediary this time. A source from Smolenskaya square reported to Interfax that Moscow agreed to that in order to find a mutually acceptable format. "Our position remains unchanged - we will participate in the meetings where Abkhazia and South Ossetia are presented, in all others - no. Also we are not going to be bound by the decisions taken in our absence" - it was emphasized in the Russian Foreign Office.