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Abkhazian demarche – another Russian show

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, June 30
After the August 2008 Russian aggression the international community managed to devise a very subtle but still workable way for the conflicting sides to contact each other. 11 rounds of talks in Geneva since Autumn 2008 have yielded no practical results but at least provided a civilized means for the sides to make their claims and discuss resolving the conflicts. However the 12th round, scheduled after the frustration of the 11th round, will not now be held as so-called Abkhaz delegation has announced that it is withdrawing from these negotiations.

The Abkhaz representatives announced that they were temporarily suspending their attendance at the negotiations because no viable results had been achieved until today. It is clear to everyone familiar with this process that Abkhaz would not have dared take such a step unless prompted by Moscow. The action has two aims: to freeze the Geneva process and to blackmail the legally recognised participants of the negotiations into following The Kremlin's dictate.

The Abkhaz side as such does not exist in these negotiations, as according to the August 12 2008 agreement the official participants are Georgia, Russia, and the USA, EU, UN and OSCE as Co-Chairs. However the meetings are not held in plenary session, between delegates representing these parties, but in working groups where all participate in a personal capacity. Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Georgian delegation Giga Bokeria has confirmed that the representatives of the puppet regimes attend these working groups in a personal capacity, as do those of the legal administrations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in exile. What Moscow is trying to do is pretend that it is not a side in this conflict but an honest broker in a dispute between Georgia and the 'independent states'; of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is why Russia is stubbornly demanding that Georgia sign an agreement on the non-resumption of hostilities and non-use of military force with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. If Georgia signs such an agreement it would mean it indirectly recognises these entities as equal juridical objects, thus acknowledging the so-called ‘new reality’ in the region Russia is trying to promote.

In the opinion of the Georgian side and all the other official participants of the Geneva negotiations such an agreement should be signed between Georgia and Russia alone. Indeed it already has been, as the August 12 ceasefire document signed by both sides says that neither will use force or restart the war and, further, that Russia will withdraw its armed forces from Georgia’s territory. Georgia wants international forces to be deployed in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region so that IDPs from there can return home safely and with dignity. From this point of view special guarantees should be given for the protection of the human rights of the entire population of the regions. However the puppet regimes want Russia to be the only mediator of all its activities there. In this way, by clear manipulations of reality, Russia wants to achieve its goal.

The South Ossetian separatists have not yet left the negotiations but are still threatening to. Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze regards Moscow’s conduct as a show, and says that as Moscow has been able to prevent the OSCE and UN missions functioning in Georgia it has now decided to destroy the only peace preserving format which exists. Vashadze added that the Moscow’s latest actions prove once again that it does not want peace and stability in the South Caucasus. The trouble is, the world already knows that, but does almost nothing.