Authorities of breakaway South Ossetia have refused to participate in talks with the Georgian side planned for July 22 in Brussels.
Boris Chochiev, deputy prime minister of the breakaway region, cited two reasons behind the refusal to participate in the EU-proposed talks in which the Russian side was also expected to participate.
The first reason, he said, was that Russia’s North Ossetian side was not invited, the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee reported on July 19.
Negotiators from the Georgian, South Ossetian, Russian and Russia’s North Ossetian side make a quadripartite negotiating body, Joint Control Commission (JCC), which is deemed by Tskhinvali and Moscow to be the main tool for negotiations. But Tbilisi pulled out from this Russian-dominated body in March.
Tbilisi has instead proposed to replace the JCC with a new negotiating body based on a 2+2+2 formula. The North Ossetian side, according to this proposal, would be replaced by the South Ossetian provisional administration and the OSCE and EU would also be included. Talks in Brussels, if held, would have been close in format to the one proposed by Tbilisi.
Another reason, said Chochiev, who is the South Ossetian representative in the JCC, was that the Georgian side was planned to be represented by Temur Iakobashvili, the state minister for reintegration, at the talks in Brussels. Tskhinvali said in January that it would not cooperate with the state ministry, given its new name. Formerly the agency was called the State Ministry for Conflict Resolution Issues.