Geneva format: chances to live14.05.2010 | 09:50
11th round of Geneva discussions on security and stability in Caucasus under the auspices of EU, OSCE and UN involving representatives of Russia, USA, Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be held on June 8. The sides generally agree that Geneva meeting point is necessary and important despite the lack of vivid results. Georgian politologists, however, have a different view of these discussions. Recently the experts came forward with an assumption that consultations in Switzerland had reached a deadlock. Is that really so?
It's not for the first time that advisability of Geneva format has been challenged. There have been no breakthrough, much desired, or any serious achievements over a year and a half which naturally affects opinions of some of participants.
Last summer, for instance, Abkhaz President Sergey Bagapsh declared his intention to consider the republic's further participation in consultations since Sukhum representatives come to Switzerland only in respect of the document signed between Russian president Medvedev and French leader Sarkozy. Representatives of the South Ossetian delegation to Geneva have repeatedly warned that South Ossetia reserves the right to withdraw from talks if Georgia does not sign a non-aggression document with the republics.
A few days ago Georgian politologists tried to discredit the idea of talks. Expert Irakli Sesiashvili stated the discussions had reached a deadlock. "The format of Geneva talks has led to no results and we can say that it was created to show the West's concern over conflict resolution", - the politologist remarked. - In reality the talks are not aimed at specific results, that is why they're pointless".
According to him, discussing the non use of force agreement definitely suggests breakdown of talks since any agreements between Tbilisi, Sukhum and Tskhinval entrench on Georgia's fundamental interests. "This is a way to put pressure on both Georgia and the West forcing the latter to urge us to sign this document", - he remarked.
Another Georgian expert - Soso Tsintsadze thinks that Geneva talks have turned into the war of nerves. The politologist is sure that trips to Geneva bring no practical results to the Georgian side, but forsaking them means losing again to Tbilisi.
"They will never be of any effect, - Tsintsadze emphasized. - Now the country's maximum program is to avoid defeats in foreign relations given that the talks are sponsored by OSCE, UN and EU".
Curiously enough, Moscow's attitude to Geneva talks is different. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed advisability and prospects of Geneva discussions with Russian politologists and experts that agree on format preservation.
Vladimir Anokhin, vice president of Academy of Geopolitical Problems
These talks are simply essential firstly to stop rumors on Russia's alleged self-isolation and pursuit of aggressive policies without resorting to peaceful methods of process settlement.
Secondly, there is revision of opinions going on during the talks, and as a rule the viewpoints approximate somehow. Consequently Saakashvili will have to take pains trying to turn Europe and Russia into enemies.
Besides, Georgians are losing their trump card now. Talks are always of use, even morally. Here their position is no more solid since Geneva will arrive at some conclusions eventually. And it will be harder for Tbilisi to appeal to the West.
Finally, Geneva discussions are giving a chance to unite European efforts and mellow US influence set to make Europe weaker.
Sergey Demidenko, an expert with the Institute of Strategic Analysis and Evaluation
In my view, these talks must be continued. Geneva is the only place where Georgians, Abkhazians and Ossetians can present their positions in this way or other.
So it would be unwise to cut this negotiation mechanism. It's true that Abkhazia and South Ossetia will fail to come to terms with Georgia's current leaders but these discussions will certainly have results with new forces in power.
Here is an example: there was no negotiating site in the Middle East. Discussions were constantly frustrated, and there was no starting point for resumption. As a result the sides were drifting away from initial arrangements.
I think Geneva mechanism will be efficient in future even if now it is of no effect. At any rate, the platform for a dialogue - albeit slow and dull - is essential. It simply must exist.