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Document on non-use of force not agreed at Geneva discussions

December 19, 2013, 0:38 UTC+3 GENEVA
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GENEVA, December 18, 23:50 /ITAR-TASS/. The participants in the Geneva International Discussions failed to agree a document on the non-use of force at their meeting on Wednesday, December 18.

“Unfortunately, no compromise was reached because Georgian representatives continued to insist on a unilateral statement from Russia, which is unacceptable for us for reasons of principle,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, told ITAR-TASS.

Moscow does not consider itself a party to the conflict of five years ago and refuses to make such a deal with Tbilisi.

Nor could the parties make a joint oral statement on the non-use of force as provided for in the U.N. Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. Such a statement was proposed by the delegations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However “Georgian representatives did not support it for reasons that are not quite clear, and no consensus was reached,” the diplomat said.

The current round of consultations is the first one since Georgian President Georgy Margvelashvili was sworn in. After the previous round, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who leads the Russian delegation to the consultations, expressed hope that the discussions would become more constructive after the change of leadership in Georgia, but did not expect any major change in Tbilisi’s position.

The election of Margvelashvili the new president “winds up a very grim period when Mikhail Saakashvili was president, generates new hopes and refreshes the atmosphere,” Karasin said.

However he noted that “processes are underway in Georgia and its leadership has reiterated the foreign policy that was once declared by Mikhail Saakashvili.”

Karasin said that hopes for progress at the Geneva after the change of president and government in Georgia had not come true and “no major changes has occurred in the position of Georgia so far.”

The diplomat tends to blame the lack of progress on the “the inertia of old approaches from the time when Mikhail Saakashvili was the president of Georgia” and “it is hard to get rid of this inertia because these ideas have taken deep root in the Georgia’s media environment.”

At the same time, he admitted that “Tbilisi is thinking along the right lines” and cited as an example Georgia’s decision to change the name of its Ministry for Reintegration and expressed hope that Tbilisi would also scrap its law on the occupied territories. “This thinking should become the fabric of Georgian policy because if the waiting becomes too long, the results become deplorable,” he added.

The parties to the discussions, which have been going on for over five years, agreed “to continue to work in a constructive manner.” “I hope that the position of our Georgian partners in the Geneva Discussions will change,” Karasin said.

The Geneva International Discussions address the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia, and are chaired by Ambassador Andrii Deshchytsia, EU Special Representative Philippe Lefort and U.N. Representative Antti Turunen.

Reporting on the meetings of the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) established by the Geneva Discussions, Ambassador Andrei Deshchytsia welcomed the decrease in security-related incidents. Three meetings have been held since the start of the year.

The Geneva discussions take place under the auspices of the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and involve delegations of the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the United States, and the Republic of South Ossetia.

The Geneva International Discussions, launched after the August 2008 conflict in Georgia, are co-chaired by the OSCE, EU and U.N., and bring together representatives of Georgia, the Russian Federation, the United States, Tskhinvali and Sukhumi. The establishment of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) was one of their outcomes. The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms were established under the Geneva International Discussions, which are co-chaired by the OSCE, the EU and the U.N.

The next round of discussions is scheduled for March 25-26, 2014.

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