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So far no agreement at Geneva Talks

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, December 16
“Due to Russia's destructive position, the participants of the 38th round of Geneva Talks failed to reach a consensus over non-use of force and establishment of international security regulations at Georgia’s Occupied regions,” Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reports.

The 38th round of the International Talks of Geneva was held on December 13-14. As usual, the talks were co-chaired by representatives from the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as delegates from Georgia, Russia and the United States (US), and authorities from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.

The MFA stated that the talks were held within a two meeting-group format. At one meeting, the sides discussed security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while during the second meeting concerned the safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes.

During the talks, the Khurcha incident was also raised by the Georgian side, when an unarmed 31 year-old citizen of Georgia, Giga Otkhozoria, was gunned down by a Russian border guard on Georgian-controlled territory in the village of Khurcha, at the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) on May 19, 2016.

The Georgian delegation condemned the ratification of military deal between Russia and Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia, which envisages the formation of a combined group of Russian and Abkhazian troops.

The Georgian side also raised several issues related to Russia’s ongoing occupation of Georgia, including the installation of barbed wire fences and new border signs, the kidnapping of Georgian citizens and depriving the local youth of getting an education in their mother language.

While discussing the possibility of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) returning to their homes, the Abkhaz and Russian sides left the meeting in protest.

Georgia’s MFA stated with this step they revealed their unconstructive attitude towards the process of Geneva Talks.

The Ministry underlines that all the meeting participants, except Russia and the Abkhazian and Ossetian representatives, fully shared the position of Georgia.

The next round of the Geneva Talks has been scheduled for March 28-29, 2017.

The Geneva International Talks were established since the August War between Georgia and Russia in 2008. Since then, nearly every round of discussions has ended without any particular positive outcome.