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Monday, 24 October 2016


Geneva breakthrough changing into a deadlock

2010-12-20 20:27

Geneva breakthrough changing into a deadlockGeneva process participants again started off for their homes in disappointment. According to the common acknowledgement of the Georgian and Abkhaz parties, yesterday's round of negotiations has failed. Members of the Georgian delegation looked forward to landing in Tbilisi so as to accuse Moscow once again of sabotage. It would be naivety to expect a breakthrough this time, though negotiations on December 16 differed from the previous meetings. They went on against the background of the parties' mutual promises not to make war on each other.


December 11, after a talk in the office of Abkhaz President Sergey Bagapsh, Representative of the UN Secretary General for Georgia Antti Turunen irradiated happiness. His face bore a feigned smile but he was happy because there was a breakthrough coming in Geneva talks in several days. Why did Turunen, who visited Tbilisi, Tskhinval and Sukhum before negotiations, believed in it so much?

That's because President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili followed by presidents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared that they were not going to attack each other and were ready to sign relevant documents. This is the most notable rapprochement between the long-standing opponents for the whole period of time since the events in 2008.

However, Turunen's happiness dissipated at the first minutes of the meeting in Geneva. The Georgians were going to sign an agreement on the non-use of force with Russia, while the Abkhaz and the Ossetians reckoned that Georgia would settle the matter of peace directly with them.

As soon as the talks were over, international middlemen again repeated the learned words: "We assess the results of this round positively and express certain optimism". However, the only common opinion of all the parties present was that the round apparently failed. It's hard to name the criteria used by middlemen to define the extent of success of the Geneva consultations.

The fact that Georgia would like to sign an agreement with Russia, not with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, had been known of long before the meeting in Geneva. That's why the observers refused to share the middlemen's "prudent optimism". The essence of the conflict lies in the diplomatic game. If Tbilisi agrees to direct negotiations with Sukhum and Tskhinval, it means it recognizes them as the conflict participants and its "occupation" ideology falls down. If Moscow agrees to settle the issue of peace with Tbilisi it will also recognize itself as a conflict participant by doing so.

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