TSKHINVAL, March 19. /TASS/. Georgia’s unconstructive stance at Geneva discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia disrupted work on a statement on commitment to non-use of force, the head of the South Ossetian delegation Murat Dzhioyev told TASS on Thursday.
South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov instructed the delegation ahead of the trip to Geneva to demand a boost to work on the document committing Georgia not to use force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia, saying this was "the main aim of the negotiations".
Dzhioyev, president’s envoy for post-conflict settlement, said expert work on the draft agreement submitted by the Russian delegation earlier had continued several rounds.
The Geneva Discussions have been held since 2008, in line with agreements reached by the Russian and French presidents after tragic events in August 2008 when Georgia attacked its breakaway region of South Ossetia, and Russia launched an operation to ‘coerce Georgia to peace’.
Geneva discussions bring together delegations from Abkhazia, Georgia, South Ossetia, Russia, and the US.
A next round of Geneva discussions 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 South Ossetia earlier on Wednesday, said Grigory Karasin, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister.
"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.
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.
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, defence 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.