The latest round of consultations co-chaired by the UN, the OSCE and the EU was held as part of international discussions on Transcaucasia in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 20−21, with the participation of representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, the Russian Federation, the United States and the Republic of South Ossetia.
Abkhazia is recognized only by Russia and a small number of other countries. While Georgia lacks control over Abkhazia, the Georgian government, the United Nations and the majority of the world’s governments consider Abkhazia part of Georgia. South Ossetia declared independence from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia’s autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force.
The delegations of Abkhazia, Russia and South Ossetia drew the attention of the participants to what they claimed is Georgia’s increasingly aggressive policy, and its confrontational attacks at various international venues.
The fact that Georgia has once again submitted a draft resolution on refugees to the UN General Assembly, and initiated the adoption of politicized documents in the UN Council on Human Rights and the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers is not helpful in bringing about actual solutions to humanitarian issues, said Russia’s Foreign Ministry in a statement, adding: “These moves only serve the purposes of Georgian propaganda, which asserts Tbilisi’s alleged jurisdiction over Abkhazia and South Ossetia at every opportunity. However, such unilateral steps make discussions of the refugee issue within the framework of the Geneva discussions meaningless, and cause serious damage to the entire negotiating process.”
Representatives of the UN, the EU, the OSCE, Abkhazia, Russia and South Ossetia assess the security situation as calm and stable. It was reaffirmed that incident prevention and response mechanisms, as well as hotlines, continue to fully justify themselves as international instruments for strengthening security on the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian borders. Joint work with Sukhum and Tskhinval on demarcation and delimitation of the border could be a key step on the part of Georgia in this regard. The majority of unintentional incidents are caused by confusion among locals regarding the border’s precise location, said Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
The Abkhazian, Russian and South Ossetian delegations expressed major concern over Georgia deepening its interaction with NATO. The resolution of the Alliance’s Parliamentary Assembly adopted in Tbilisi has once again demonstrated NATO members’ rigid and one-sided approach to the situation in Transcaucasia.
Such a situation in the military-political sphere has once again underscored the importance of discussing the draft joint statement of the participants in the Geneva discussions on the non-use of force as the first real step towards concluding bilateral agreements on this issue between Abkhazia and South Ossetia, on the one hand, and Georgia, on the other hand. The sides agreed to continue work on this document.
The participants of the Geneva discussions reaffirmed their willingness to continue searching for solutions to humanitarian issues, including environmental safety, preservation of cultural heritage, education, and searching for missing persons.