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Tbilisi outwits itself06.10.2011 | 18:38
The seventeenth round of Geneva talks on security and stability in Caucasus has ended in no result proving the most pessimistic forecasts. Tbilisi categorically refused to discuss Moscow's proposal to act as a guarantor of non-use of force between Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Besides, the Georgian side accused Russia of "hardening its position" in talks. International mediators - the United States and the European Union - kept silent. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discusses results of the meeting in Switzerland as well as prospects of this dialogue with Maxim Gvinjia, head of the Abkhaz ministry of foreign affairs.
dialogue with Maxim Gvinjia, head of the Abkhaz ministry of foreign affairs.
Before the talks started, both Russia and Georgia stated that the main topic of the coming discussions would be a non-aggression treaty with Moscow acting as a guarantor of non-repetition of August 2008 events. However, Tbilisi again demonstrated its unwillingness to negotiate demanding that Russia come up with a non-use of force statement toward Georgia. "Russia's position at this meeting is tougher than over the three years of Geneva discussions", - Sergey Kapanadze, deputy Georgian FM complained adding that the Georgian side needs time to analyze "Russia's new tactics".
And what did the Georgian diplomats expect? Moscow repeatedly stated: the aggression in South Ossetia was unleashed by Georgia. Thus, it's Georgia's responsibility to document peaceful intentions that Mikheil Saakashvili constantly advertises. Yet, it seems the Georgian leader is carried away with cheap politics.
As Russia's deputy FM Grigory Karasin, who attended the talks, said: representatives of Georgia simply said "this does not solve any problems" in reply to Moscow's initiative. "Tbilisi still wants Russia to announce non-use of force, they reiterate their stand that, as we believe, is absolutely non-constructive", - the Russian diplomat explains. Moscow believes this initiative is efficient since guarantors ensure non-use of force as well as responsible monitoring at the regional level. Karasin is sure: a sound trilateral statement in support of these commitments would have stop attempts of any political forces or groups in the region to make adventurist decisions.
Thus, Moscow agrees to a number of compromises in talks over the non-aggression treaty. Firstly, as Karasin said, guarantors of peace in Caucasus must refrain from use of force too. Secondly, the mandate on incident prevention and response mechanisms now valid on both borders should be extended. This would become an efficient monitoring tool. Official Tbilisi repeatedly called for the return of Western missions to Caucasus. It seems Georgia would support this idea. Yet, it did not happen. On the contrary, Georgia rejects all proposals and keeps gathering its military force on borders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, continues flights of pilotless aircrafts over the territories of the republics sending sabotage and reconnaissance groups there.
International mediators remain last hope, it seems. Russia suggested that the USA and the EU become security guarantors in Caucasus, and this added more dynamism to discussions, Grigory Karasin remarked. The reply was made, though an unintelligible one. "We believe involvement of the USA and EU in support of such commitments would have a sobering effect on Georgian leadership distracting them from their aggressive plans. Their reaction was strangely negative, but there was no direct refusal to consider this proposal. We may draw a conclusion that chances to continue discussion of this option, remain", - the diplomat said adding: Moscow suggested that the partners reconsider this proposal.
As for Tskhinval's and Sukhum's reaction to Tbilisi's stubbornness, the delegation from South Ossetia has already suggested that Geneva discussions should be suspended before Georgia has new government able to pursue a dialogue on security reinforcement. Abkhaz FM Maxim Gvinjia comments on the results of the talks for GeorgiaTimes correspondent saying: "We are waiting for our delegation to return to Sukhum in order to learn details of the debates. Yet, it is already clear that Georgia keeps politicizing the issues discussed at the talks", - he emphasized. Our interlocutor thinks that even without signing documents the Russian side guarantees non-resumption of the war. In reply to a question on Moscow's initiative to involve international mediators in the initiative, Gvinjia remarked: "Obviously, neither the European Union, nor the USA are ready to do that yet".