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Georgia’s Dondua: No Agreement Reached with Russia at Geneva Talks

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, June 22
Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua says the Georgian and Russian sides could not reach an agreement over a single issue at the 44th round of Geneva International Discussions (GID) on June 20.

Dondua says that at the discussions, the sides take different positions over the non-use of force.

Georgian official claims Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin’s statement that Russia has fulfilled obligations envisaged by the ceasefire agreement, signed after Georgia-Russia war 2008, is not true.

“Russia has not fulfilled the obligations because its armed forces are still deployed in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia…Georgia and Russia should not use force against each other, the parties must withdraw the armed forces,” he stressed.

The Deputy Minister added that unlike Russia, Georgia has fulfilled all its obligations.

“The occupant forces are not only deployed in breakaway regions, but also conduct their training, provided with arms. This is the use of force, according to the international law. Use of force does not mean only firing and shooting people. Threats are also use of force,” Dondua explained.

He emphasized that Russian side did not answer to Georgian side’s request on transferring body organs of the murdered Archil Tatunashvili, who died in unclear circumstances in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia in late February.

“We demanded Tatunashvili’s organs from Moscow because it is the party of the conflict. We underlined that without the organs the cause of the death cannot be identified. However, we did not get any answer,” he noted.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who was attending the meeting, said after the discussions that Tatunashvili’s organs are at present in Vldanikavkaz, the capital city of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, a federal subject of Russia.

“The forensic examination was held in the laboratory of Vladikavkaz…Russia cannot solve this problem, because the conflict arose between South Ossetia and Georgia,” Karasin said.

He also added that if not the format of the GID, the hostilities in Georgia’s occupied territories would have been resumed in 3-6 months.

“Geneva Talks help us avoid aggression…people meet here to solve the problems and not to avoid them…However, some issues regarding the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not resolved,” Karasin said, referring to the recognition of independence of the breakaway regions.

The GID are held four times a year with Co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and with the participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The representatives of Georgia’s breakaway regions - Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes also attend the Working Groups.

The talks are usually held within a two meeting-group format. At first meeting, the sides discuss security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while the second meeting concerns the safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reports that as usual, the Russian and occupation regimes left the second part of the talks in protest while discussing the issues on the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions.

GID have been the only format of negotiations between Georgia and Russia since 2008.

The next round of GID will take place on 9-10 October 2018.