GENEVA, March 18. /TASS/. Another round of Geneva discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia, bringing together representatives of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the US and South Ossetia, was marked by "bitter dispute", with Georgia frustrating success reached by delegations, the head of the Russian delegation told TASS on Wednesday.
The scandal was initiated mainly by First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia David Dodua following the signing of an alliance and integration treaty between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia earlier on Wednesday, said Grigory Karasin, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister.
"Sometimes the atmosphere became simply scandalous at the instigation of Georgia," he added in comments on the discussions which ended on Wednesday.
The Russian and South Ossetian delegations "presented their explanations on the issue without avoiding a debate, stressing that any attempts of Georgia to practically return the situation to August 2008 and question the right of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to build independent relations with neighbours, including Russia, are simply inadmissible," he said.
"We will not put up with this at the consultations," Karasin said.
The newly signed treaty "is not on the agenda of Geneva discussions," which "were designed to first of all settle the issues of strengthening security and stability of Abkhazia ad South Ossetia after Saakashvili regime’s aggression in August 2008," he said.
Karasin said this hysterical attack at participants in discussions failed, and the Geneva talks "stated on the whole a stable situation on the border of Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as a declining number of incidents".
Abkhazia also brought up a thorny issue of foreign trips for its nationals, seeking to "put an end to its artificial isolation which is practiced by many countries at the instigation of the West and Georgia," Karasin said.
Karasin said co-chairpersons from the United Nations, the European Union and the OSCE were on the whole cooperating towards constructive work of the meeting.
However, at the very end joint efforts to pacify the Georgian delegation and urge some acceptable options in discussion of humanitarian issues and refugees, failed, he said.
"Tbilisi’s representatives disrupted all rather sensitive agreements reached by the delegations," he said. "As a result the meeting ended on a rather bad note," he added, saying, however, that no tragedy should be made out of this.
A next round of Geneva discussions is due at the end of June.
On Wednesday, the Russian and South Ossetian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Leonid Tibilov, signed in Moscow an alliance and integration treaty, aimed at establishing closer cooperation in social, economic and humanitarian sectors, as well as on foreign policy, defense and security. The treaty was signed for a period of 25 years.
Russia will ensure defense and security of South Ossetia and protect the country’s borders, according to the treaty. The treaty envisages forming a common defense and security space between Russia and South Ossetia, as well as free border crossing between Russia and South Ossetia, taking into account restrictions in place for security concerns.
The document stipulates that Moscow and Tskhinval will conduct a coordinated foreign policy.
Abkhazia sought independence from Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Deterioration of relations between Georgia and Abkhazia reached its peak in the 1990s and led to armed clashes that left about 20,000 people killed. In 1994, Abkhazia adopted its own constitution and declared independence from Georgia. A referendum in 1999 supported the republic’s statehood, but it was never accepted by the international community.
Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia was in the focus of a war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, declaring independence in the aftermath. It was recognized by Russia, and only a few other countries followed suit, while the rest of the world considers the territory part of Georgia.
The next round of Geneva discussions is due at the end of June.