GENEVA, March 27, /ITAR-TASS/. The 27th round of discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia has made certain progress on the way towards working out the general statement, but the key issues remain unsettled, RF Deputy Foreign Minister, State Secretary Grigory Karasin said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Wednesday, summing up the results of a regular round of the consultations that are held under the aegis of the United Nations, European Union and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Taking part in the consultations are delegations of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the United States and South Ossetia.
“Today we have made certain progress in agreeing on the text of the joint statement on the non-use of force on behalf of the participants in the Geneva discussions,” said the RF deputy foreign minister.
He also admitted that “the key issues are still unsettled.” He called the first such disagreement “the recognition of the existence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and references to this in the document itself,” to which Tbilisi objects. At the same time, Karasin stressed, without such references it will be difficult to understand “who adopts the joint statement.”
The second stumbling block was the traditional Georgian demand of Russia’s unilateral obligation not to use force. “We don’t consider ourselves a party to the conflict, so we don’t intend to make such statements,” the head of the Russian delegation said.
“The hope was expressed that a decision on the wording that would be acceptable for all would be found at the future rounds,” the diplomat said.
He said that the conversation in general “was substantive and practically with emphasis on the issues of security and non-use of force.” The Russian deputy foreign minister also drew attention to the fact that after Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili resigned and the negotiating team changed, “the forms of the dialogue are gradually changing,” and the atmosphere at the consultations had become much more pragmatic and “more meeting the needs of ensuring security in the region.” “From empty rhetoric, exchange of abuses and high-flown calls, representatives of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have transferred to the discussion of practical matters,” Karasin emphasised.
The discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia are held for five and a half years based on agreements between the Russian and French presidents that had been reached after the tragic events of August 2008 in South Ossetia. The next round of the consultations is planned for June 17 - 18.