38th Round of Geneva Talks Ends without Consensus

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reports that the 38th round of the International Talks of Geneva, established since the August War between Georgia and Russia in 2008, concluded as usual without any consensus.

The talks were co-chaired by representatives from the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as delegates from Georgia, Russia and the United States (US), and authorities from de facto Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.

The December 13-14 talks were held within a two meeting-group format. At one meeting the sides discussed security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while the second meeting concerned the safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes.

The MFA reports that the Georgian delegation reviewed the security situation in the occupied regions of Georgia and condemned the ratification of a military deal between Russia and Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia.

Moreover, the Georgian side raised several issues related to Russia’s ongoing occupation of Georgia, including the installation of barbed wire fences and new border signs, the kidnapping of Georgian citizens and depriving the local youth of an education in their mother tongue.

The reduction of so called "checkpoints" at the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) of Abkhazia was also condemned by Georgian representatives.

During the talks, the Khurcha incident was raised by the Georgian side, where an unarmed 31 year-old citizen of Georgia, Giga Otkhozoria, was gunned down by Russian border guards on Georgian-controlled territory in the village of Khurcha, close to the Nabakevi Crossing Point at the ABL on May 19.

The participants also discussed the issue of protection of cultural heritage in Georgia’s occupied regions.

Furthermore, the Georgian Delegation raised the issue of IDPs and their safe return to their homes in the occupied regions of Georgia. During the discussions, the representatives of the Russian Federation left the discussions in protest.

“By this step, the Russian Delegation reiterated their unconstructive attitude towards the negotiation process,” Georgia’s MFA said.

The Ministry underlines that all the meeting participants, except Russia and the de facto representatives, fully shared the position of Georgia.

The next round of Geneva Talks has been scheduled for March 28-29, 2017.

Thea Morrison

15 December 2016 18:34