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Tskhinvali says Geneva Co-Chairs are biased

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, April 2
The de facto South Ossetian authorities have accused the Co-Chairs of the Geneva talks of being “biased in favour of Georgia.” The Special Representative of the de facto South Ossetian President on Post-Conflict Regulation, Boris Chochiev, said after the meeting with the EU, UN, and OSCE representatives on Tuesday that “the Co-Chairs are not objective, they are biased, and totally pro-Georgian.”

“We do not see any realistic evaluation of the situation from their side. They are doing their best to hide everything negative coming from the Georgian side. At the same time, they do not present their own opinion at all. In particular, the EU monitors deployed at border regions have one aim – to hide from the international community the misdeeds that are happening there. They ‘do not see’ 35 illegal checkpoints set up by the Georgian side, as well as the everyday provocations taking place there,” the de facto South Ossetian Press and Information Committee quoted Chochiev as saying.

Special representatives of the OSCE, UN and EU, the Co-Chairs of the Geneva talks on the issues of maintaining peace and security in the Caucasus region, have visited Tskhinvali to discuss the upcoming fifth round of the talks. Pierre Morel and Charalampos Christopoulos have met the de facto Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Jioev in Tskhinvali. The Co-Chairs of the Geneva talks said that at the meeting with the de facto South Ossetian authorities some “difficult issues” were touched upon.

“I should say that these issues have yet to be resolved,” news agency Osinform quoted the representative of the EU, Pierre Morel as saying. Morel also said that there are some “positive components” related to creating an incident prevention mechanism, as agreed at the fourth round of Geneva talks. He told journalists after the meeting that now the Co-Chairs are waiting for the announcement of the names of the people who will participate in creating these mechanisms.

As for the issue of ethnic Ossetians being detained by the Georgian side, OSCE representative Charalampos Christopoulos said it was a humanitarian issue, which should not be politicized. He noted that a special mechanism was being created to work separately on this problem. Christopoulos said he met the relatives of the detainees and informed them about the newly created mechanism.

The de facto South Ossetian officials have said they did their best to avoid the disruption of the Geneva negotiations. Rustavi 2 reported that Boris Chochiev said that the EU, OSCE and UN monitors refused to travel to Tskhinvali via the North Ossetian Republic of the Russian Federation, which was one of the key demands of the de facto authorities. “We had to satisfy their demand and let them travel to Tskhinvali from the Georgian-controlled territory in order to avoid the disruption of Geneva talks,” Chochiev stated. On March 30 Chochiev said that “we have warned the representatives of the UN, OSCE and EU that it will be their last visit to South Ossetia in the vehicles of OSCE observers, if agreement on an OSCE mission to South Ossetia is not reached at the next round of talks in Geneva.”

On Monday the UN, EU and OSCE representatives visited Sokhumi and met the de facto Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergey Shamba. Shamba reiterated the Abkhazian demand for the setting up of a separate UN mission in Abkhazia and the restoration of the Chuburkhinji weekly negotiations.