Russia is concerned by NATO activity in Georgia, while Georgia demands an investigation into the deaths of Georgian citizens in the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflict zones
Little was achieved at the latest Geneva talks between Georgia and Russia on 2-3 April.
The main topics were the deaths of Georgian citizens in the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflict zones, and NATO activity in Georgia.
The Geneva discussions were implemented after the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. This is the only format in which Georgia and Russia negotiate through with the participation of international mediators. The discussions are co-chaired by representatives of the European Union, the OSCE and the United States.
Georgia’s representatives focused on the recent death of Georgian citizen Irakli Kvaratskhelia at a Russian base in Abkhazia who died under unclear circumstances in March 2019.
“The Georgian side demanded detailed information in order to establish the circumstances surrounding Irakli Kvaratskhelia’s death … The issue of bringing the murderers of David Basharuli, Gigi Othozoria and Archil Tatunashvili to justice was also discussed,” reads the official statement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
The issue of the “hasty militarization of the [Russian] occupied territories and continuous military exercises” was raised, in addition to the illegal detentions of local residents by Russian security services and the continuation of the construction of fences and various artificial barriers, because of which residents of Georgian villages are denied access to their land plots.
The Georgian side said that these actions of Russia destabilize the situation in the conflict zones.
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Imeda Darsalia called this round of talks ‘unsuccessful’.
“The Russian Federation continues to choose the path of pressure and threats, and hinders any attempt at separating humanitarian issues from political ones,” said Darsalia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, for its part, commenting on the results of the latest round of Geneva talks, paid particular attention to the activity of NATO in Georgia.
“Representatives of Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia once again emphasized that the military activity of the United States and NATO in Georgia is currently the main threat to regional security,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Moscow’s discontent was also caused by the demand for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in accordance with the 2008 ceasefire agreement.
“The Georgians and the Americans again rolled back the discussion to a decade-old position, demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops, confirming Georgia’s territorial integrity [as drawn] before August 2008, and so on.
“This is a dead end. It is clear that neither we nor our allies can go for this. Thus, work on a joint statement (on the non-use of force) is being blocked,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.
The next round of talks in Geneva will take place on 2 and 3 July 2019.