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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

 

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia regarding the 29th round of the Geneva International Discussions

The 29th round of the Geneva International Discussions was held on 8 October 2014. The participants of the Geneva Discussions took part, in their individual capacity, in the two Working Groups, the first focusing on security and stability in the occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia, and the second on the issues related to the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their original residence. The discussions were co-chaired by the representatives of the EU, the UN and the OSCE, and attended by the 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 the representatives of the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes took part in the 29th round of the Geneva Discussions.

The meeting was conducted in a business-like atmosphere. The participants have discussed all agenda items of the two Working Groups.

In the course of the Working Group I, the participants from Georgia extensively reviewed the worrying security situation on the ground, in Georgia's Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. Illegal military exercises, violations of the airspace controlled by the Government of Georgia, increased practice of kidnapping, robbery and cases of detentions for the so-called 'illegal border crossing' have been brought to the attention of the Co-Chairs. The Head of the EUMM, Mr. Toivo Klaar has adequately assessed the security situation on the ground and comprehensively presented the security incidents that took place in the adjacent areas of the occupation line. The existing security context on the ground underscores the importance of an early resumption of the Gali IPRM mechanism without preconditions, based on the proposals for the Mechanism of 18 February 2009, and in full composition.

Participants from Georgia have raised their utter concern over the recent announcement made by the Abkhazia occupation regime about the possible closing down of the existing crossing points across the occupation line. This intention, if materialized, would pose a serious threat to the security on the ground, further strain humanitarian situation, significantly affect the livelihoods of the local population and prevent people-to people contacts. Georgian participants have strongly appealed to the Co-Chairs to undertake necessary measures to prevent such step.

One of the central agenda items of the Working Group I pertains to non-use of force. The Georgian participants once again made a reference to a number of undertakings that strengthen Georgia's legally-binding commitment to the non-use of force principle. The Georgian side has expressed its dismay over Russia's continuous refusal to reciprocate Georgia's non-use of force pledge. Until Russia fails to undertake the legally-binding commitment not to use force against Georgia, one of the central objectives of the Geneva Discussions and the pillars of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement remains unfulfilled. With the purpose to give an impetus to the process, the Georgian delegation reiterated its continuous readiness to constructively engage in the drafting of the statement by the participants of the Geneva International Discussions on the non-use of force, and encouraged the Co-Chairs to reconvene the session at the next 30th round.

The Co-Chairs of the Geneva Discussions and the Georgian side are unanimous that the effective and durable guarantee of security and stability on the ground, especially in the context of Russia's refusal to non-use of force commitment, is the establishment of the solid international security arrangements. In the face of worrying security situation on the ground, and continuous vacuum of international presence therein, it is crucial to stimulate the constructive discussions on the establishment of valid and functional international security arrangements.

In the framework of the Working Group II, Georgian participants discussed the humanitarian and human rights consequences of Russia's illegal activities along the occupation line and in their adjacent areas. They have expressed their serious concern over the discriminatory measures exercised against Georgian population in both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and the violation of the social, economic and cultural rights of the local residents. Particular emphasis was put on the evidences of restrictions of right to education in native language and freedom of movement. Georgian participants called upon all participants to respect fundamental rights and freedoms of the local population irrespective of their ethnic origins. Their basic humanitarian needs and fundamental human rights should not be sacrificed to the political motivations. Georgian participants once again stressed the responsibility of Russia, as an occupying power, under international law to ensure the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all residents of the occupied regions. Georgia urged the Co-Chairs and Co-Moderators to find practical solutions to the outstanding problems, and make steps towards ensuring humanitarian access to the occupied regions and creating human rights monitoring mechanisms therein.

On one of the principal agenda items of the Working Group II pertaining to the right of IDPs to safe and dignified return, Georgian participants welcomed Co-Moderators' call to advance discussions and make further efforts in this direction. In addition, participants discussed the issue of missing persons and emphasized the importance of continued cooperation.

The Georgian side expresses its appreciation for dedication of the Co-Chairs to the main goals of the Geneva Discussions and their unwavering efforts to safeguard the format and agenda of the discussions. Georgia will further continue its constructive cooperation with the Co-Chairs and their teams with the aim to advance the work on the substantive security and humanitarian issues as mandated by the 12 August 2008 Georgia-Russia Ceasefire Agreement.

The 30th round of the Geneva International Discussions will be held 9-10 December 2014.

Tbilisi, 9 October 2014

 
 

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