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Russia and separatist representatives leave 38th Geneva Talks

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 19
Representatives from the Russian Federation and Georgia’s de facto independent regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region left the 38th round of Geneva International Talks on Georgia’s conflict issues in protest as Georgia raised the issue of the peaceful return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to the territories.

The 38th round of the Talks took place last week.

During the discussions, representatives of the Government of Georgia condemned the recently ratified military deal between Russia and Abkhazia that envisaged the creation of joint military units.

At the meeting - which was co-chaired by the representatives of the European Union, United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe - Georgia stressed the Russia-Abkhazia military deal was “one more step taken towards the annexation of Georgia’s occupied territories by Russia”.

The Georgian delegation also stated before the representatives of the United States, Russia and the occupied regions that Russia’s military training in Georgia’s breakaway areas violated all international agreements and laws.

They also touched upon spread information over creation of a so-called “bordering zone” at Abkhazia’s Galiarea which, according to Georgia, would further supress the free movement of people and demanded explanations from the representatives of the occupied regimes.

The Georgians also raised the arrest issue of an Abkhaz man who killed a Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria in May this year onterritory currently controlled by Georgia.

Russia and the de-facto representatives are still refusing to hand over the man from being judged under Georgia’s legislation.

Georgia also showed concern over Russia’s creeping occupation, erecting new barbed-wire-fences and so-called border signs on the territory of Georgia, depriving locals of receiving education on the mother-tongue and similar.

The Georgian delegation highlighted the importance of letting international missions in the occupied regions of Georgia, which was immediately dismissed by Russian representatives.

“The Georgian delegation also raised the issue of the peaceful and dignified return of the Internally Displaced Persons to their homes in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. Discussing the issue caused representatives of Russia and the occupied regions to leave the negotiation table,” Georgia’s Foreign Ministry stated.

“The action once again highlighted their unconstructive attitude to the negotiation process,” the Ministry added.

Since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, the Geneva International Discussions have been the only format of dialogue between Georgia and Russia. At the meeting, according to the August 12 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, issues including the non-use of force, the creation of international security arrangements in breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, and the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees were discussed.

The next round of the Geneva Talks were scheduled on March 28-29, 2017.