Russian delegation walks out of the 55th round of Geneva talks
In Geneva, at the 55th round of international talks, the Russian delegation left the meeting. According to Lasha Darsalia, Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Russian diplomats left the table when the issue of the return of IDPs was on the agenda.
Darsalia added that the position of the parties on the issue of security remains radically different.
“It’s a very sad fact. It is important that sooner or later we overcome this and the issue of the return of IDPs. The reality with the rest of the process is that the positions of the parties on the issue of security remain radically different”, Darasalia said.
According to him, it is important to begin gradual implementation of the six-point agreement, which should be the basis for a full-fledged settlement of the conflict, “however, such an approach does not seem feasible to the Russian delegation”.
Darsalia said there was some opportunity to take small steps on humanitarian issues, however, as in all previous rounds of negotiations, this time no progress was made.
“It’s not in anyone’s interest for human rights and humanitarian background to be protected. In fact, Russia uses human rights issues as a tool of pressure in the negotiation process, but with the active efforts of partners and co-chairs, we hope that it will be possible to make some progress on humanitarian issues in the future. In this regard, we expect the co-chairs to prepare some proposals that will be considered in the next round. We hope that we will be able to make some progress, even on humanitarian issues, but if we summarize today’s round, as in all other previous rounds, this time we have not been able to make any progress”, said the Deputy Minister.
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What is the Geneva format
●After the August 2008 war, all direct dialogue between Georgia and Russia ceased. In accordance with the ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008, a decision was made to establish a format for the Geneva International Talks, in which Russia and Georgia, along with representatives of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, as well as representatives of international organizations, would discuss various humanitarian issues.
● For years before the Georgian Dream launched the Abashidze-Karasin format of Georgian-Russian talks, Geneva was the only place where Tbilisi and Moscow had talked.
● Geneva talks take place 4 times a year.
● The Geneva format does not address the political aspects of the conflict – the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and other political issues are not discussed here.
● The Geneva International Talks are taking place in two parallel working groups:
The first group discusses security issues (for example, reaching an agreement on non-use of force between Russia and Georgia, establishing international security mechanisms in the occupied regions of Georgia);
The second group discusses the situation of IDPs and their return. The group also discusses important humanitarian issues that concern people living in the occupied territories (for example, education in their native language, protection of cultural heritage, free movement of people on the occupation line, health of people living in the occupied territories, criminal cases, human rights, etc.).
● In addition to Georgia and Russia, US representatives and co-chairs from the OSCE, the EU, and the UN participate in the Geneva talks. Representatives of Tskhinvali and Sokhumi are also involved in the discussions.