Tbilisi will no longer participate in the Joint Control Commission (JCC), the quadripartite negotiating format for South Ossetian conflict resolution, Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili said on March 4.
Yuri Popov, the Russian chief negotiator over South Ossetia and Russian co-chairman of the JCC, is due in Georgia on March 4 to hold talks both in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. Iakobashvili, however, said that Tbilisi would not host him as JCC co-chairman, but as a Russian Foreign Ministry official.
“We will not host Popov as a co-chairman of the JCC; we will be hosting him as a Russian diplomat dealing with South Ossetian, Tskhinvali Region issues. We do not see the need to resume the work of the Joint Control Commission, because this format does not meet today’s realities,” Iakobashvili told Mze TV.
The announcement comes after Iakobashvili proposed on February 29 to replace the JCC, which currently involves negotiators from the Georgian, South Ossetian, Russian and Russia’s North Ossetian sides, with a new negotiating body based on a 2+2+2 formula. The North Ossetian side, Iakobashvili said, should be replaced by the Tbilisi-backed South Ossetian provisional administration, led by Dimitri Sanakoev, and the OSCE and EU should also be included.