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MFA of Georgia releases a statement on the 50th round of Geneva International Discussions

By Tsotne Pataraia
Friday, December 13
On December 11, the Georgian Foreign Ministry released a statement on the 50th round of the Geneva International Discussions. According to the Ministry, the main topic of discussion was the release of Vazha Gaprindashvili, doctor illegally detained by the Tskhinvali occupation regime. The EU, UN, OSCE and US officials unanimously demanded the immediate release of a Georgian doctor from captivity:

“The Georgian delegation has been extremely critical of the security and human rights situation in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, as well as in the villages adjacent to the occupation line. In this context, the recent provocations by Russia and its occupation regimes - the erection of barbed wires, the occupation line closure and the frequent abductions - have culminated in the illegal detention of Dr. Gaprindashvili," reads the statement.

The negotiations emphased ethnic discrimination and harassment of Georgians living in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. The representatives of Georgia pointed out the utmost need to ensure that Georgians living in the occupied territories are allowed to get education in their native language.

“The important topic of the discussion was the necessity of execution of justice concerning the cases of murder of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili. The Georgian participants paid special attention to the death of another citizen of Georgia, Irakli Kvaratskhelia, who died in the custody at the Russian illegal military base. Representatives of Georgia noted that the Russian Federation continues the illegal occupation of the inalienable regions of Georgia and is taking steps towards de-facto annexation, violating 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement,” the MFA reports.

Following the released report one of the topics of discussions is the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin:

“Representatives of the EU, UN, OSCE, US and Georgia emphasized the need for substantive discussion of this issue. However, with the guidance of Russian delegation, participants from Moscow, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali again tried to politicize the humanitarian issue and left the negotiations. Georgian participants thanked the current head of the EU Monitoring Mission Erik Hoeg, for his efforts towards peace and security in Georgia,” read the statement.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Lasha Darsalia, head of the Georgian delegation at the 50th round of Geneva talks, said that one of the main topics of the talks was Vazha Gaprindashvili's issue and, despite the complexity and seriousness of the talks, he hopes the issue will be resolved soon.

“One of the main issues was Mr. Gaprindashvili's unlawful arrest. We are continuing to work with our partners ... Given the dynamics of the negotiations, despite its gravity, I hope the issue will be resolved soon," said Darsalia.

According to him, the Georgian side also raised the issue of IDPs, but traditionally the Russian delegation left the negotiating table as soon as the issue was raised.

After the discussion, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko also spoke about Vazha Gaprindashvili. He thinks that Vazha Gaprindashvili's issue is a humanitarian issue and everybody should celebrate the New Year with their family:

“Having heard the views of both sides, we hope that Mr. Gaprindashvili will return to his loved ones soon. It is in everyone's interest that this issue is removed from the agenda. Do not ask how he will be released. As you know, he is not in the Kremlin and is somewhere else. We will not discuss the occupation with you because our positions here are fundamentally different. We believe that South Ossetia emerged in 2008, so any discussion on this topic is closed to us. As for Gaprindashvili's case, this is a humanitarian issue and we think that everybody should celebrate the New Year with their family," said Rudenko.

Representatives of the occupation forces detained traumatologist Vazha Gaprindashvili on November 9 in Akhalgori district (Tskhinvali region). The de facto authorities charged him with deliberate breach of the so-called border and sentenced him to two months in pretrial detention.

The Geneva International Discussions are based on the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement. Discussions are taking place within two working groups where the negotiators are presented with individual status. The first working group works on security and stability issues, and the second group on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and secure and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes.

The talks are being co-chaired by the European Union, the UN and the OSCE with the participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the United States. Working group meetings are also attended by the head of the interim administration of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District and the head of the government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, as well as representatives of the occupation regimes of Tskhinvali and Sokhumi.

The next round of negotiations will take place on March 31 and April 1, 2020.