Georgian Foreign Ministry: Moscow's statements on occupation line delimitation are unacceptable
Georgian Foreign Ministry against the delimitation of the occupation line
“Moscow’s statements on the delimitation of the occupation line are completely unacceptable for Georgia. The only possible solution to the issue is the de-occupation of the Georgian territories”, the Georgian Foreign Ministry stated late in the evening on October 13.
This is a reaction to the statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry a little earlier on the same day. “In order to strengthen security in the region, the Russian side proposes to launch the process of delimiting the borders of Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia with their subsequent demarcation. In this, Moscow is actively supported by Sukhum and Tskhinval”.
Both statements were made after the next, 54th round of international Geneva discussions on security and stability in the South Caucasus which took place on October 12-13.
After the Russian-Georgian war over South Ossetia in August 2008, this is the only negotiating format on the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts. It is co-chaired by the European Union, the UN and the OSCE. Georgia and Russia are involved, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are represented [recognized by Russia and the other four countries as independent states. Georgia, the UN and the majority of the international community consider these regions to be an indivisible part of Georgia].
More details about the Geneva format below.
How Tbilisi and Moscow formulate the main tasks of the Geneva format
Georgian Foreign Ministry: “Release of Georgian citizens – Irakli Bebuis and others who were illegally detained in the occupied territories. An acute humanitarian crisis in which ethnic Georgians are in the occupied territories. Against the background of the growth of provocations in conflict zones, it is necessary to restore meetings within the framework of the Joint Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism [created earlier in the framework of the Geneva format] without any preconditions.
Russian Foreign Ministry: “Counteraction to the destructive policy of Georgia. Taking a hostile position and publishing biased documents in various international formats, in which Abkhazia and South Ossetia do not participate, the Georgian side itself is blocking the discussion of some issues on the Geneva platform. Presenting the world a one-sided and politicized vision of the world from the rostrum of the UN […] makes it impossible to dialogue on the issue sponsored by the Geneva talks”.
Top priorities: Russia talks about an agreement on the non-use of force, Georgia demands de-occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
For the Russian Foreign Ministry the main priority of the Geneva format is ensuring lasting security in the South Caucasus, for which it calls on Tbilisi “to sign agreements on the non-use of force between Georgia, on the one hand, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, on the other”:
“The urgency of this task is growing against the background of active efforts by the West to draw Tbilisi into NATO, as evidenced by regular military exercises conducted directly on Georgian territory, including the recent multinational maneuvers of the Agile Spirit 2021 alliance.
In response, the Georgian Foreign Ministry claims that during the talks in Geneva, the Georgian delegation sharply criticized Moscow’s recent steps to de facto annex Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, including Russia’s program to create a common socio-economic space with them.
For the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the main priority of the Geneva format is the need to force Russia “to comply with the ceasefire agreement, which was signed with the mediation of the European Union on August 12, 2008”:
“Russia continues large-scale militarization of the occupied territories, illegal military exercises, violations of the airspace of Georgia, construction of illegal barriers”.
“Russia carried out a large-scale military aggression in August 2008. For the next 13 years, it continued provocations using the tools of hybrid warfare. Moscow is deliberately trying to destabilize the situation in Georgia and in the region”, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
The next, 55th meeting of the Geneva talks is scheduled for early December 2021.
- Abkhazia will no longer negotiate with Georgia until peace treaty is signed
- How to build an Abkhaz-Georgian dialogue and should it be built at all – discussions in Abkhazia
What is the Geneva format
• After the August 2008 war, direct dialogue between Georgia and Russia ceased. In accordance with the ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008, it was decided to create the format of the Geneva talks, where Russia and Georgia, together with representatives of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, as well as representatives of international organizations, will discuss various humanitarian issues.
• Before the Abashidze-Karasin format of Georgian-Russian negotiations was created after the current ruling Georgian Dream party came to power, Geneva was the only place where Tbilisi and Moscow spoke.
• The Geneva talks are held four times a year.
• The Geneva format does not address the political aspects of the conflict. That is, the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and other political issues are not discussed here.
• The Geneva International Talks are being held in two parallel working groups.
• The first group discusses security issues (for example, reaching an agreement on the non-use of force between Russia and Georgia, creating international security mechanisms in the occupied regions of Georgia);
• The second group discusses the situation of internally displaced persons and their return. This group also deals with important humanitarian issues related to people living in the occupied territories (for example, education in the native language, protection of cultural heritage, free movement of people across the lines of occupation, health of people living in the occupied territories, criminal cases, human rights, etc).
• In addition to Georgia and Russia, the Geneva talks are attended by US representatives and co-chairs from the OSCE, EU and UN. Representatives of Tskhinvali and Sukhumi also participate in the discussions.