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23rd round of Geneva Talks underway

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, March 28
The 23rd round of the Geneva Talks took place on March 26-27. The Georgian delegation was headed by the Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani. The talks were attended by the representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as Georgia, the Russian Federation, the U.S., the UN, the OSCE and the European Union.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Jalaghania, the discussions were held within the format of both working groups – on security and on the humanitarian situation. “As usual, we are interested in this dialogue to be a specific and result-oriented one. We hope that the Georgian delegation will return with tangible results,” Jalaghania said.

The talks are focused on the stabilization of the situation in the region and guarantees of the non-use of force, solving the problem with IDPs so they can return to their homes, as well as improvement of the humanitarian and socio-economic situation. The disputed format of the talks has not been changed and the parties will continue to negotiate within the same format and framework, Zalkaniani confirmed before the meeting.

Deputy State Minister for Reintegration Mariam Tsikhelashvili said at the meeting, the Georgian representative will raise the issue of free movement for both sides of the conflict. "Civilians begin spring seasonal work in the fields and in this period it is very important to ensure the free movement of people in both directions," she said.

Tsikhelashvili also stressed that the Georgian side will also ask to dismantle the barbed wire that was installed in the so-called border area by the Russian border guards.

Grigory Karasin Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia says now there is hope for more constructive dialogue within the format and the parties will be able to discuss all important issues in the region.

Georgian experts agree that the format of the talks should be maintained and they support the idea that the talks should continue regardless the results it can bring.

Georgian Political analyst Nika Chitadze says that the Georgian side should be as patient as possible to handle the destructive actions from the Russian side and keep participating in the talks, even if the rounds do not bring any results. Georgia's Participation in the Geneva Talks will ensure the representatives of international society that the country intends to settle the situation by peaceful measures.