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Georgian, de facto Abkhazian and South Ossetian delegations leave for Geneva

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, July 27
The Georgian and de facto Abkhazian and South Ossetian delegations have left for Switzerland to participate in the 12th round of Geneva discussions on July 27. Head of the Georgian Delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria, suggested that the Georgian side is not expecting “any significant breakthrough” in the discussions.

Speaking to journalists at Tbilisi International Airport early on Monday, Bokeria said that “tense discussions” are expected in Geneva. “Unfortunately we are not expecting any concrete steps to be taken, considering the tense and unconstructive background to the talks created by the Russian Federation and the de facto regimes of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said. “We have had yet another round of threatening, with them declaring that they will not turn up to the Geneva talks. However, it is good that they have decided to come anyway and in any case we favour continuing the discussions,” Bokeria added.

The head of the legitimate Abkhazian Government-in-Exile, Giorgi Baramia, briefly outlined the issues which the Georgian side will raise. These include security issues, the problems of IDPs and the Georgian Government's strategy on its occupied territories. “This round of talks is important because all the principle issues will be discussed in detail,” Baramia told journalists.

The head of the de facto South Ossetian delegation, Representative in Post Conflict Regulation Issues Boris Chochiev, said that Tskhinvali will again raise the issue of signing a non-use of force document. “We will discuss the possibility of signing an interim document guaranteeing non-use of force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” he noted.

“The Russian Federation has proposed a document containing one-sided guarantees on non-use of force. It will be an interim document, which will be in force until a main document is signed, because according to the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement Georgia has to give guarantees of not using force [against Abkhazia and South Ossetia],” Chochiev said. The de facto official said that “everyone understands that the Geneva talks are deadlocked.” However Georgian officials say any non-use of force document can only be signed with Russia as it is “a side of the conflict.”

The de facto Abkhazian and South Ossetian officials had previously claimed they were quitting the Geneva talks, citing the lack of a non-use of force document between Tbilisi, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali as the reason. During his annual speech to the de facto Abkhazian Parliament the so-called Abkhazian leader Sergey Baghapsh had said that Sokhumi was taking a “pause” in the Geneva talks, because “Tbilisi was avoiding discussing a document on non-use of force.” However he added that the Geneva discussions are a “comfortable diplomatic forum for direct contact and exchange of information with the EU, UN, OSCE and the US."