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Minister supports restoration of old format of talks with de-facto Abkhazia

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 29
The UN representation tasked for negotiations with Georgia’s de-facto region Abkhazia is working on the restoration of so-called Tchuburkhinji format that envisages quadrilateral involvement in the talks.

The ongoing process has been confirmed by Georgia’s Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paata Zakareishvili, who believes that the refreshment of the talks with Abkhazia through the participation of the breakaway region’s leaders, Russia, Georgia and the UN might provide positive consequences.

The Tcuburkhingi negotiation format was established in 1997 and had been wrecked many times.

The format meetings aimed at solving of security issues and the Georgian authorities, the de-facto region’s representatives, Russia and the UN were involved in them.

The format broadened in 2008 and the EU was also admitted to the format.

The Abkhazian side refused to participate in the format talks in 2012, stating that the EU was showing bias in the negotiations.

“The UN raised the topic again and the organization is actively working on the issue. We support the development, as the renewal of the format will encourage settling of everyday problems related to the region. Of course we face certain obstacles and preconditions we are eager to overcome,” Zakareishvili said.

“The format will solve the problems of the local population in the area, without the constant interference of the central government. There are the cases when the cattle is lost, or somebody is detained that requires immediate reactions,” the minister added.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) believes that the repetition of the format would be a step backward.

The UNM representative Givi Targamadze stresses that only such formats are acceptable that include a large-scale involvement of sides.

“There is no need to return to the past when some other, new and better formats might be available,” Targamadze says.

The opposition Free Democrats are also against the restoration of a format with its initial image.

“If we talk about formats we should take the Geneva International Talks into account and create or re-open some formats in compliance with the Geneva Talks,” member of the Free Democrats Irakli Chikovani said.

It should be noted that Parliament’s Foreign Committee head Tedo Japaridze has no information concerning the ongoing efforts with regard to the Tchuburkhinji format.

“I am not informed about the topic but it is the fact that we need more communication and diversity of contacts with de-facto regions,” Japaridze suggests.

It is hard to predict whether the format can be really restored or not. However, negative sentiments have already been revealed.