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Russia hopes Georgia is pragmatic at 30th round of Geneva Talks today

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, December 10
The 30th round of the Geneva talks, launched after the 2008 August War between Georgia and Russia, was scheduled on December 10. The Georgian delegation will be headed by Deputy Foreign Minister David Dondua who replaced David Zaklaliana and will be the co-chairman of the consultations from the Georgian side. Negotiators from Georgia, Russia, and the United States, as well as from the Tskhinvali and Sokhumi regions will take part in the talks.

The main issue for discussion will be the Treaty on Alliance and Integration signed between Russia and Abkhazia, as well as Russia’s intent to sign a similar document with the de facto Tskhinvali government.

Dondua stressed the importance of the Geneva Talks and maintained that Georgia will continue its dialogue with Russia.

“We will continue to be constructive and do our best to reach positive and tangible outcomes in the future,” said Dondua.

Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paata Zakareishvili stated that the format will be retained until Georgia reaches its goals.

Meanwhile, the Russian side and its representative Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin hoped Georgia would be pragmatic in the course of the talks.

Member of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) Giga Bokeria suggested that the format should be used as a lever to place pressure on Russia through the assistance of the international community and not on the contrary.

Commenting on the talks, Ambassador of the United States to Georgia Richard Norland reaffirmed his country’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and admitted that humanitarian issues along with the political ones should be pushed forward during the talks.

“We have a very clear position. We do not recognize the treaty signed between Abkhazia and Russia. There are issues that are of high political interest. However, a poor humanitarian situation in the occupied regions should be in focus as well,” Norland said.

The Geneva Talks, which are co-chaired by representatives from the EU, UN and OSCE, are held in two working groups – one addressing security issues on the ground, among them international security arrangements and the non-use of force, and another one addressing humanitarian issues. The 29th round of discussions, held on October 8, reported no positive outcomes.