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Fourth round? A crucial one?2009-02-18 10:02
Today, February 17, is the start of another round of Caucasus security talks between Russia, Georgia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, the USA, UN, OSCE and EU. The parties plan to coordinate a number of documents.
Among them is the final version of "Incident and Conflict Prevention". According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta it must become the basis for creation of a mechanism for the situation monitoring, organization of weekly meetings of the representatives of the parties for discussion of current issues and action meetings in case of emergency.
The other document that will be presented in Geneva deals with provision of free access for humanitarian shipments to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As is known now the columns of International Red Cross can reach Tskhinval and Sukhum not from Russia but from the South and only with a preliminary permission from Tbilisi.
Some participants of the talks have their own suggestions. The Abkhazian delegation is going to Geneva with the initiative to resume weekly meetings in Galsky district under the auspices of the UN involving representatives from the UN, Russia, Georgia, the EU and (naturally) Abkhazia. Explaining such a decision the republic's Foreign Minister Sergey Shamba emphasized:
"They (the meetings) are one of the UN mission mandate mechanisms that is elaborated in detail and on the whole we agree to it. There are certain contradictions that we hope will be settled by way of discussion".
It will be remembered that the meetings in Galsky district were held for ten years - till October 2007 - and were terminated after Abkhazia's protest against Georgia's militarization in the near-border zone.
Sukhum has some remarks in connection with the "Incident and Conflict Prevention" above as according to the document international observers are admitted to the territory of Abkhazia. However the UN Security Council has just adopted a new mandate that the Abkhazian side accepted without reservations. The latter would like to operate with the UN representatives only pursuant to this mandate.
Another participant of the Geneva round, Tskhinval, finds no fault with "Incident and Conflict Prevention". According to Foreign Minister Murat Jioev the execution of this document "would be a real achievement". The President's representative for post-conflict settlement Boris Chochiev explains: "The acts of provocation on the border are performed from the Georgian side that must be controlled by international observers but we are out of contact with them, and we cannot inform them on what is going on".