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Sides lay out their agenda ahead of Geneva talks

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, December 14
The Geneva talks co-chairs paid a visit to Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia ahead of the 14th round of negotiations in Switzerland, scheduled for December 16. Pierre Morel of the European Union, Antti Turunen of the United Nations and Bolat Nurgaliev of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe visited another breakaway region of Georgia, South Ossetia earlier last week as well.

In Sukhumi the representatives of the de facto Abkhazian government and the EU, the UN and the OSCE discussed the agenda of the upcoming Geneva talks, Apsnypress news agency reported on Monday. According to the de facto head of the International Department of the so called Abkhazian Foreign Ministry, Lana Agrba, the sides talked about the security issues and the problems of the IDPs. Agrba stated that Vyachislav Chirikba, Representative of the de facto Abkhazian President, will lead the “Abkhazian delegation” in Switzerland.

Only 2 days prior to the Geneva talks, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, as well as Moscow, which backs the de facto leadership in Georgia’s breakaway regions have reiterated their demand on signing a non-use of force document between Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Sukhumi. The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a special statement, listing the issues on the agenda of Geneva negotiations.

“Recently there have been public announcements of the Presidents of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia about not using force against each other. It creates a new situation in the region, and of course will become the main issue of discussion in Geneva,” the statement reads “We are planning to carefully study and discuss the statements and examine the possibility of legally strengthening them by the international community using the existing instruments. It is important to move towards establishing normal neigbourly relations between the three countries,” it continues.

Officials in Tbilisi have once more excluded the possibility of signing a non-use of force document with its breakaway regions. The Georgian Foreign Ministry has blamed the Kremlin for “attempting to drag Geneva talks in to deadlock.” Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergi Kapanadze said Tbilisi “is not going to sign agreements with puppet regimes.” “The statement made in Russia is nothing but an attempt to mislead the international community, to lead Geneva negotiations into deadlock and put the peace initiative, voiced by the Georgian President, and the statements of the puppet regimes, which have no legal power, on the same level,” Kapanadze told journalists. According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, at the upcoming Geneva talks the Georgian side will raise the issue of Russia signing a document about not using force against Georgia.

Former First Deputy Minister and currently a Secretary of the National Security Council, Giga Bokeria will head the Georgian Delegation to Geneva, Foreign Ministry of Georgia announced on Monday. “It shows that the Georgian side gives special importance to the Geneva talks,” Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said “Despite the fact that Geneva negotiations have brought no specific results so far, Tbilisi is laying its hopes on the negotiations anyway,” she added.

According to Kalandadze, the Georgian side will raise the issues of the recent blasts in Georgia, the deployment of the multiple rocket launcher artillery system Smerch in Tskhinvali region, as well as the cases of deprivation of housing and land property of the ethnic Georgians living in Akhalgori region.