Sides stand firm ahead of Geneva talks
By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, October 12
The Georgian side wants to move towards a “real resolution” of the problems at the Geneva discussions, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said on Monday, 3 days ahead of the Geneva talks, scheduled for October 14. Establishing a security mandate on Georgia’s occupied territories, the secure return of IDPs to their homes and starting the de-occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region are the priority issues that the Georgian delegation is planning to raise in Geneva, according to Kalandadze.
“We will demand the release of 12 Georgia citizens, captured illegally on Georgia’s occupied territories. We will ask the international community to assist us in this issue,” she said at the regular Monday press conference. “Despite frequent attempts of the Russian Federation to thwart the negotiations for some formalities, all sides will participate in this round of Geneva talks, including representatives of puppet regimes,” the Deputy Foreign Minister noted.
The de facto Abkhazian officials have confirmed their participation in the 13th round of talks in Switzerland, reiterating their demand for a non-use of force agreement to be signed between Tbilisi, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, a representative of the de facto Abkhazian President and head of the delegation, Vyacheslav Chirikba told the Apsnypress information agency. He noted that the Abkhazian delegation will also discuss the problems of the IDPs. “We do not really expect any breakthrough, mainly due to the unconstructive position of the Georgian side, however we are going to continue working on reaching our goal – the signing of a non-use of force document between the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of Georgia,” Chirikba stated.
The de facto South Ossetian authorities also stated that they will demand the signing of a non-use of force document with Tbilisi at the Geneva discussions. “We will also raise the issue of missing South Ossetian citizens during the talks,” Boris Chochiev, the representative of the de facto South Ossetian President in Post Conflict regulation issues and head of the de facto South Ossetian delegation to Geneva said. “Georgia and its ally the US are avoiding discussing the non-use of force document,” information agency RES quoted him as saying.
The international community is offering humanitarian assistance to South Ossetia but their methods are unacceptable to Tskhinvali, Chochiev claimed. “We are open to the international community, and organisations such as the UN and the OSCE are offering humanitarian aid but only through Georgia,” he said “That’s why South Ossetia refuses to accept humanitarian aid coming via the aggressor state,” Chochiev said, adding, “There are some international organisations, which are ready to work on the South Ossetian territory, as a sovereign and independent state,” he told the RES news agency. However he did not specify the organisations mentioned.
Nobody will be able to change the “new reality” in the South Caucasus, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Grigory Karasin said ahead of Geneva talks. “Georgian diplomats and politicians are doing everything they can to complicate any progress in stabilizing the situation in the South Caucasus,” Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying. “However, despite the efforts made by the Georgian side, nobody will be able to change the new reality in the region,” Karasin added. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said that the Russian side is “actively preparing” for the Geneva talks, adding that the Geneva discussions were established to “develop a dialogue between Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”
Officials in Tbilisi have stated repeatedly that Georgia is not going to sign a non-use of force agreement with its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, saying that such an agreement can be signed with Russia “as it is the side of the conflict”. Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said on Monday that Georgia will stick to the agenda mentioned above. “We will not change it no matter what kind of preconditions are set, even if Russia tries to blackmail us by saying that it will not participate in the next round of talks,” she stated.