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Abkhazia wants Geneva debates format changed

November 08, 2012, 21:42 UTC+3

Abkhazia’s FM believes “the time has come to change the format, bringing it to the level of delegations, which would give a fresh impetus to the talks”

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SUKHUM, November 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba, meeting with a Russian delegation, said the format of the Geneva debates should be changed. A number of other questions were also discussed. The Russian delegation includes deputy director of the CIS department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexei Dvinyanin, adviser to the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Marat Kulakhmetov and deputy director of the Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights Department Anatoly Viktorov.

“The situation changed considerably since 2008, and the existing format does not offer us an opportunity to adopt a legally-binding document,” Chirikba said. He believes “the time has come to change the format, bringing it to the level of delegations, which would give a fresh impetus to the talks.”

He said “although the composition of the Georgian delegation to Geneva is due to change, the Georgian government, regarding Abkhazia, continues largely to adhere to the approaches characteristic of the old administration.” “In this connection we don’t expect much change in Georgia’s stand on the main questions discussed in Geneva,” the foreign minister said.

Russia’s stand of principle regarding the change of the format “is fully in keeping” with Sukhum’s stand, Dvinyanin said, in his turn. He expressed regrets over the situation when “Abkhazia will continue meeting with the opposition of western countries and Georgia at the talks in Geneva.” “The leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry emphasizes in all its statements equal, full-fledged status of all participants in the Geneva debates and will continue doing so,” Dvinyanin stressed.

Saying that there exists “complete mutual understanding between Russia and Abkhazia on the key issues of the Geneva talks,” Chirikba stressed particularly that the Abkhazian side “highly appreciates the efforts of the Russian Federation aimed at compromise between the sides”

The possibility of resumption of the use of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism was also discussed at the meeting. The Mechanism has been idle since April 2012. Preparation for a regular December round of the Geneva debates was also discussed.

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