15th round: no results
By Messenger Staff
Monday, March 7The regular 15th round of Geneva negotiations held on March 4, 2011 brought no results. Russia again refused to sign an agreement with Georgia on non use of force and continues to deny admittance to international observers on the territories of occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. However, negotiations will still be held on June 6-7 at the 16th round in Geneva.
Non use of force was again the most important issue discussed at this round. On November 23, 2010, President Saakashvili of Georgia announced publicly from the European Parliament podium that Georgia will never use force against its breakaway regions.
Just on the eve of the 15th round on March 2, the Georgian foreign ministry made a statement encouraging Moscow to make a similar commitment of non use of force as Saakashvili took last year in November. The Georgian side thus wanted to be certain that Moscow is not planning repeated aggression against Tbilisi. The Kremlin on the contrary refuses to sign such an agreement with Georgia, considering itself not to be a part in the conflict and suggesting that Tbilisi signs this agreement with Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regimes. Head of the Russian delegation Gregroy Karasin repeated once again that Russia will not sign any type of agreement as it has not threatened and is not threatening anyone, whereas the major target for Geneva talks is the security of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Representatives of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali regimes were repeating Russian demands in parrot fashion.
Of course Russia and their puppets aim is to achieve an agreement signed by Georgia which would mean recognizing indirectly these regimes as equal entities and therefore partially legitimizing those regimes.
The second important issue was Georgia’s demand to be deployed in the disputed regions as international peacekeepers and police forces. The third issue promoted by Georgia was worthy and secure return of the refugees and IDPs to the places of their original dwelling. So far, Moscow does not allow any international missions either observers or sometimes even humanitarians to enter the territory. But the Georgian side thinks that, sooner or later, Moscow will have to retreat and would allow international organizations to enter the territories. Otherwise it could never explain why it is refusing to do so. The issue of lifting restrictions on crossing administrative borders in the disputed territories was also touched upon. The Russian side expressed its discontent, using the terms ‘occupation’ and ‘occupier’ in regards to Russian conduct. As always, Moscow lies and is upset when its lies are not accepted as truth and are labeled accordingly. According to some sources, Tbilisi and Moscow are resuming certain contacts over the negotiation of Russia obtaining WTO (World Trade Organization) membership. As it is known, the Obama administration is very keen on Russia becoming a WTO member whereas Georgia firmly opposes this. The US tries to facilitate a solution to the problems which exist in this direction. Thou US side agrees that these controversies should be decided on bilateral level between Moscow and Tbilisi, though Washington officially stated that Russia’s WTO membership is in the national interest of USA. On the other hand, the White House clearly explained to the Kremlin that it is not planning to put pressure on Georgia and suggested that Moscow use common sense in dealing with this subject, highlighting that major importance should be given to economy and trade issues.
The Georgian position in this regard is one sided. Moscow should follow WTO rules and should allow Georgian customs officers at the judicial border between Russia and Georgia in the disputed, separatist controlled territories.