Nov 08, 2013

Abkhazia: Geneva Discussions On Security And Stability In The South Caucasus

During the 25th Round of Discussions on Security and Stability in the Southern Caucasus, which took place on 5-6 November 2013 in Geneva, the Abkhaz Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viacheslav Chirikba, stressed on the importance of fostering peaceful negotiations with the Georgian representatives. 

Below is an article published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia

On 5-6 November the 25th round of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus was held in Geneva. The consultations which were held under the auspices of the EU, the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), were attended by delegations from Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Russia, Georgia and the United States. The delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia was headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Viacheslav Chirikba and also included Abkhazian diplomats Lasha Avidzba, Kan Tania, Tengiz Tarba and Member of Parliament of Abkhazia Valery Agrba.

Talks were traditionally conducted in two working groups - on security and humanitarian issues. In the second part of the day both groups worked together.

Summing up the meeting, V.A. Chirikba deplored the unwillingness of the Georgian side to discuss the important aspects of settlement in a constructive spirit going beyond the traditional exchange of accusations. Georgian representatives of the new leadership seem to have taken the position of maximum time delaying. It seems that they are not quite know how to behave in the absence of the usual dictate of the old team of the President Saakashvili, and what Georgians still should be seeking in Geneva.

Despite the appeal of the Abkhazian, Russian and South Ossetian participants of the discussions, as well as Co-Chairs, to make strenuous efforts to achieve tangible steps towards the settlement, there was no positive response from the Georgian side. One of the important steps could be the joint statement of the parties to the Geneva discussions on the commitment to exclusively peaceful political solution to all problems. The Georgian side once again was not ready to start discussing the text of the joint statement, and it was moved to the December meeting.

The head of the Abkhazian delegation said that as far as the point is about European conflict, the EU cannot ignore the issues raised by the Abkhaz side constantly, particularly concerning the de-isolation of Abkhazian citizens in regard to their interaction with the outside world. It is therefore very important to see the statement of the head of the U.S. delegation that the U.S. government lifted all restrictions on obtaining U.S. visas by the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, traveling with Russian passports issued by the Russian embassies in Sukhum and Tskhinval, which is very different from the position of the European Union, coming in the wake of Georgia's policy regarding international isolation of Abkhazia.

V. Chirikba stressed once again that the Abkhaz side views all the members of the Georgian delegation as representing only Georgia, and not any other side. For Abkhazia it does not matter, how persons belonging to the Georgian delegation call themselves.

The Abkhaz side expressed readiness to resume regular meetings in Gal under the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM). V. Chirikba again raised the question which has been repeatedly raised within the previous meetings, on the need to clarify the fate of the resident of Gal district David Sigua kidnapped in 2007 by the Georgian special services. The Minister appealed to the new head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia Toivo Klaar to conduct a thorough investigation of this crime.

The Abkhazian Parliament Member Valery Agrba said that the Abkhaz delegation built a line of tough and uncompromising defense of the interests of the country on principled and non-negotiable questions of security and sovereignty of Abkhazia, while maintaining the correct tone and using diplomatic methods and mechanisms necessary for negotiations on such a high international level. Despite the difficulty in promoting concrete outcomes, the MP stressed the need to continue the participation of Abkhazia in the negotiation process, stressing the importance of this sole for today and high international platform on which Abkhazia has all the capabilities to bring its point of view directly to the representatives of the EU, U.S., UN and the OSCE, which contributes to a more constructive approach in the relations between the European Union and the United States and the Republic of Abkhazia. The Abkhaz side called the Co-Chairs to undertake vigorous efforts to achieve approval of the extremely important joint statement of the participants of the Geneva discussions in the next session. The next round of the Geneva discussions is scheduled for December 17-18, 2013.