On 22-23 March Geneva will host another round of international discussions on security and stability in the Trans-Caucasus. Delegations of the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, the Russian Federation, the United States, the Republic of South Ossetia, and representatives of the EU, UN and OSCE participate in the Geneva meetings on an equal basis. The Russian delegation is headed by State Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.
Under the 2008 Russia-France agreements, the main goal of the Geneva discussions on the Trans-Caucasus is to ensure the lasting security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In this context the Russian delegation intends to once again draw the attention of the participants to earlier initiatives on signing legally binding documents on the non-use of force between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia, and the Republic of South Ossetia and Georgia. Parties will continue discussing drafts of a statement by all participants in the Geneva process, recognising the non-use of force as an intermediate step on the way to bilateral peace agreements.
Another key topic will be review of the use of the joint Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism playing an important role as a real instrument of enhancing security and restoring trust on Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s borders with Georgia. Attention of the participants will be drawn to the need to strictly observe the interstate border regime, including by the local population.
Humanitarian issues will also be in the focus, primarily joint environmental and water projects, cultural heritage programmes and initiatives on ensuring the freedom of movement.
We deem it important for all participants to consider the positions of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian delegations without bias and any attempts to politicise them. Their stances are, to our knowledge, specific and practical.
Official Tbilisi has sharply stepped up its anti-Russian rhetoric in the period leading up to the Geneva talks. At the recent meeting of State Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin with the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Zurab Abashidze in Prague, we called our partners to tone down their PR exercises in order to avoid damage to the continued normalisation of bilateral relations. Georgia’s confrontation-prone propaganda has an equally adverse effect on the atmosphere of the Geneva discussions. In would be appropriate to mention in this context the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s quarterly stamped “reports on the human rights record on the occupied territories,” which are largely based on juggled facts and the outright slander of Abkhazia, Russia and South Ossetia.
We hope that the participants of the Geneva talks, including the Georgian delegation, will hold the forthcoming meeting in a constructive spirit and with a view to reaching real results. The success of this round and the entire Geneva process eventually depend on this.
21 March 2016