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Russian Negotiator Doubts S.Ossetia Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Aug.'08 / 09:18

Chief Russian negotiator on South Ossetia Yuri Popov suggested that a planned meeting between the sides may not actually happen.

Popov told journalists at Tbilisi airport upon his arrival that he had come to participate in talks planned for August 7 in Tskhinvali. “But it has emerged that the South Ossetian side questions expediency of such a meeting,” Popov said. “If that it is the case I will have to again conduct shuttle diplomacy between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali.”

Temur Iakobashvili, the chief Georgian negotiator and state minister for reintegration, said in late night televised remarks on August 6 that he still hoped that the meeting would be held in Tskhinvali.

“Russia is currently really interested in having talks and it really wants to de-escalate the situation,” he told Rustavi 2 TV’s weekly program Triangle.

He said Russia was even ready to facilitate direct talks between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali outside of the quadripartite Joint Control Commission, at least for now.

Popov, however, told journalists in Tbilisi that Moscow was in favor of maintaining the JCC, “because this is the only format, which has authority to take binding political decisions.”

The chief South Ossetian negotiator, Boris Chochiev, said on August 6 that Tskhinvali would only agree to talks in the framework of the JCC.

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