TBILISI, DFWatch – After the 19th round of the Geneva talks, Georgia hopes that Moscow, like Tbilisi, will commit to a non-use of force pledge; but such a pledge does not seem to be forthcoming.
Regular talks have been held in Geneva since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008. USA, EU, UN and OSCE representatives participate, together with the warring parties from four years ago, with EU, OSCE and UN representatives chairing the talks.
One of the main issues of the talks is non-use of force, along with international security mechanisms.
“This specific round was more positive, because we have a feeling that we are going in the right direction, and the discussions which are held here in Geneva will take us to the stage when Moscow will also make a promise not to use force,” Sergi Kapanadze, Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, said after the meeting.
“Specific ideas were reviewed during the negotiations, and hope was expressed that these proposals will get us closer to the moment when everyone will make a non-use of force pledge.”
The Deputy Minister didn’t specify these specific ideas.
In late 2010, Georgia made a unilateral promise not to use force and now, Kapanadze says, Georgia awaits Moscow to make the same step.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that during the talks Georgia still started demanding that Russia would make a unilateral declaration about non-use of force. Such a demand is unacceptable to Russia, he told Itar Tass, because ‘Russia does not consider itself a party to the conflict’.
“Binding legal agreements should be signed, especially between Georgia and Abkhazia, and Georgia and South Ossetia.”
Here Moscow together with USA and EU will play the role of guarantor, which is categorically unacceptable for Tbilisi.
“Unfortunately, we still don’t have any progress regarding international security mechanisms,” Sergi Kapanadze said.
“Our goal is to see international peaceful and police missions in these regions (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), because we consider that the best way to provide the conditions for non-use of force is possible through such international representatives and UN, OSCE and EU peacekeeping and police can be the best guarantee for security and stability.”
In general, Georgia isn’t satisfied with the talks, the Deputy Minister says, because progress isn’t observed in Russian positions on important issues.
“In fact, we cannot achieve progress regarding any important issue, it’s already the 19th round.”
It’s complete regress regarding the return of refugees, because Moscow does not make any concession.
“Sometimes it’s even comical how they keep silent and aren’t ready to speak on this issue. No proposals from Georgian representatives and co-chairmen get any response,” Kapanadze says.
Philippe Lefort, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and head of the Geneva talks, said that the situation is better than it was after the war in August, although the results are not so good after each round.
After the meeting, chairs of the talks said that participants welcome a more stable environment despite an increase in violent incidents near the administrative border of separatist Abkhazia.
The twentieth round of talks is scheduled for 7-8 of June.