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Friday, 22 June 2018


Geneva, third round: hopeful prospects

2008-12-15 11:58

0/1/1/1011.jpegThere is little time left before the start of the third round of Caucasus security talks in Geneva between Georgia, Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia on December 17-18. The preparations are in full swing. The UN, OSCE, EU representatives arrived in Sukhum on December 10 exactly for this purpose.


It will be remembered that at first the parties tried to sit down to the negotiating table as early as on October 15. But already at the first session Georgia demanded that Abkhazia and South Ossetia be presented only on the expert level. Both republics strongly disagreed to such a status and their delegations defiantly left the room. The Russian delegation refused to negotiate without them. Thus there were no common sessions. Only separate consultations with the UN, EU, OSCE and USA representatives were held: one with the envoys from Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the other - with Georgia.

The second round that took place in November turned to be more effective. Though again Georgia rejected equality for Abkhazian and South Ossetian delegations it only led to plenary sessions being substituted by working group meetings. As a result the discussion of security issues in the region was quite fruitful; the return of refugees was touched upon too. The deputy FM of Abkhazia Maxim Gvingia gave the following judgment of the work terminated.

"The negotiations have been constructive. The Geneva process interrupted a month ago has been resumed and is in progress. We have exchanged ideas and visions. These are first rational and constructive talks after the events in South Ossetia. It is also very important to note that the effectiveness of the talks was due to equality of all parties' status".

As a result there are quite serious grounds to expect further progress from the third round. The preparation on the part of the UN, OSCE, EU mentioned above is a good confirmation to this. Their emissaries want to negotiate with the representatives of all the parties involved starting from Georgia and then by visiting Abkhazia. There the EU Special Envoy Pierre Morell has already discussed the format of the third round with Sergey Shamba, the Foreign Minister adding the following comment in the middle of their dialogue:

"We have a long list of questions that need to be discussed and we plan to work in a productive way. The November consultations were very useful and today's ideas and suggestions will render the December meetings still more effective".

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