Negotiators failed to make a progress on potential agreement on non-use of force and international security arrangements during the ninth round of Geneva talks on January 28.
The participants agreed to hold the next round of discussions on March 30, co-mediators said.
The ninth round of talks, mediated by EU, OSCE and UN, was held as usually in two working groups – one dealing with security and another with humanitarian issues.
Negotiators from Georgia, Russia, United States, as well as from breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia are participating in the discussions in an individual capacity without identifying the entities they are representing – the format agreed since the second round in November, 2008 to avoid differences on the status of negotiators, in particular of representatives from the breakaway regions.
During the ninth round of talks negotiators in the security working group failed to make a progress while discussing a document presented by co-mediators at the previous rounds on “basic elements of a framework for an agreement on the non-use of force and international security arrangements.”
Moscow insist on signing of non-use of force treaties between Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali; while Tbilisi strongly opposes such arrangement instead offering to sign non-use of force treaty with Moscow, which should also include international security mechanisms in the breakaway regions in a form of international presence there with eventual “de-occupation” of these regions.
During the ninth round of talks the negotiators also discussed “interim steps” – a paper circulated ahead of the present session by the mediators.
"We need to be creative and agree on interim steps as a permanent security arrangement may take some time to elaborate," Bolat Nurgaliyev, the Special Representative of the Kazakh OSCE chairmanship, said after the talks.
He also said that the ninth round of discussions was “an important step” in sustaining stability in the region.
In a joint statement after the talks, co-mediators said that situation on the ground was “assessed as relatively calm.”
“Sporadic incidents, in particular shootings and detentions, remain a matter of concern. Co-Chairs noted that these incidents should be addressed through the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs), established on 18 February 2009,” the statement reads.
IPRM was established to regularly address routine concerns on the ground. While the mechanism in respect of Abkhazia is gathering on a regular basis, the work of IPRM in respect of South Ossetia is suspended.
Tskhinvali says it would not participate in the work of the mechanism unless Tbilisi provides information about missing, or detained South Ossetian residents.
The issue was addressed during the ninth round of talks.
The co-mediators said in the statement that “the common objective” with regard to detained persons must remain the final release of “all against all”.
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