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Sukhumi’s diplomatic offensive2009-03-31 14:34
The special representatives of the UN, EU and OSCE - Johan Verbeke, Pierre Morel and Charalampos Christopoulos - who have arrived in Sukhumi on a working visit, have met with the Abkhazian Foreign Minister, Sergey Shamba (pictured), to discuss the upcoming round of Geneva talks. At the meeting, Sukhumi defined its position: firstly a new mandate for the UN mission needs to be adopted, and the Geneva consultations need to be made part of this mandate or an accompanying mechanism.
Yesterday the government's press office released a statement from Sergey Shamba: "It is very important to clearly determine the format of the meetings. The Abkhazians will only take part in them on an equal basis. If anyone decides to hold plenary sessions without our involvement, we will just leave the meetings and none of the agreements will be implemented."
In turn, the representatives of the international organizations noted that they deem it necessary to continue a dialogue and look for ways to solve the existing problems in the region through the Geneva discussions, reports Rosbalt.
The question of the status of the Geneva participants was raised by the Abkhazians back on the eve of the fourth round. "Abkhazia supports discussions being held in the Geneva format, but they should only be intended for a limited period of time," the press office quoted President Sergey Bagapsh. "The status of the participants in this process also needs to be determined, because in the current format it becomes obvious to us that the prospects for success are minimal." According to the president, the Geneva talks will not bring any benefit until the participants in the negotiating process "represent themselves, rather than their country". And consequently, the recommendations and decisions that are elaborated during the discussions will not have sufficient force. "If we consider that any negotiating process should lead to a positive result, then it remains clear that the Geneva process cannot last for a long time," the president concluded at the time.
Admittedly, at the last round of talks, the participants - Georgia, Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and their founders, the UN, OSCE and EU - managed to achieve certain results. The first document in the history of the Geneva talks was adopted - "Proposals for joint mechanisms to prevent and react to incidents" - whereby representatives of the bodies responsible for guaranteeing security in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia must meet every week and exchange information on the situation along the border. The sides committed themselves to sending their representatives to the Georgian village of Ergneti to carry out these agreements, but since the last round there have been no reports of such meetings.