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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

 

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the 19th round of the Geneva International Discussions

The 19thround of the Geneva International Discussions was held on March 29, 2012. The participants of the Geneva Discussions took part in individual capacity in the two working groups, one focusing on security and stability in Georgia's occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia and the other, on the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to places of their original residence. The discussions are co-moderated by representatives of the UN, the EU and the OSCE and attended by participants from Georgia, the Russian Federation and the United States. The Head of the Provisional Administration of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District and the Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia as well as representatives of the proxy regimes from Tskhinvali and Sokhumi took part in the 19th round of the Geneva Discussions.

The principal goal of the first working group of the Geneva Discussions remains to reach agreement on Non-Use of Force (NUF) and International Security Arrangements (ISA). The necessity of undertaking the commitment not to use force against Georgia and the full implementation of all provisions of the August 12 Ceasefire Agreement from the Russian side is especially important in the context of the Russia's plan to hold a large-scale military exercise "Caucasus 2012" in September and the rising aggressive rhetoric from Russian officials. Such commitment from the Russian side, reciprocating the unilateral pledge made by Tbilisi in November 2010, would alleviate the existing security concerns and constitute a significant step towards stability on the ground. The discussions held during the 19th round demonstrated that this process has a potential of moving in right direction and the pledge on the non-use of force from Moscow could materialize in the foreseeable future.

It is noteworthy that the Russian side responded to the concerns raised by the Georgian participants on the military drill "Caucasus 2012" with the assurance that the trainings would be command-and-staff drill and would not include the Russian troops deployed outside of the territory of Russia. Georgian side will wait for this statement to be officially confirmed by the relevant authorities of the Russian Federation and be substantiated by the actual facts on the ground before making further official assessments.

It remains the declared goal of the Georgian side to ensure that the Russian Federation fully implements the August 12 cease-fire agreement and withdraws its troops to the places held before the outbreak of the hostilities. Georgian side once again offered a number of interim measures before the full implementation of the cease-fire agreement takes place and the full-fledged international security regime, consisting, inter alia, of the international peacekeeping/police missions, is established in the occupied regions. The Co-Chairs of the Geneva Discussions, as well as the representatives of the U.S., also share the position that the best guarantee of the non-resumption of hostilities and security and stability on the ground is the establishment of the solid international security arrangements.

Participants also discussed the issues pertaining to the work of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms, which are dealing with the whole spectrum of issues related to the security environment on the ground. However, full utilization of the potential of the IPRMs and the instruments available to the Mechanisms still remains the task to be achieved.

During the 19th round of the Geneva Discussion, as in previous rounds, no progress was registered on the fundamental questions issues within the second working group, which deals with the return of the IDPs and refugees and humanitarian issues. Moscow and its proxy regimes still refuse to discuss the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the IDPs and refugees to the places of their original residence and fail to recognize the fundamental rights of IDPs and refugees.

Within the second working group, the Georgian side raised the issue of protection of cultural heritage, within the occupied regions of Georgia. During the information session, held on March28th, the legal tools for the protection of cultural heritage were presented to the participants of the Geneva Discussions, leading to an interesting exchange of views on the subject. Georgian side maintains that the best way to ensure the protection of the sites of cultural heritage is to proceed in a non-politicized humanitarian way, with the involvement of neutral international organizations in the oversight of these important monuments of historical importance.

The 20thround of the Geneva International Discussions will take place on June 8, 2012.

 

Tbilisi, 30 March 2012

 

 
 

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