The parties made a progress during the Geneva talks towards agreeing working-level mechanisms to tackle security-related incidents on the ground, mediators said after the third round of talks on December 18.
But few differences on the matter still remain, which will be addressed at the next round of Geneva talks planned for February 17-18, 2009, they said.
“The discussions took place in a positive spirit,” Heikki Talvitie, the Special Envoy of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, said after the talks. “Participants agreed to focus on practical and technical matters with the aim of achieving progress on concrete points that would ultimately benefit the people.”
He, along with EU and UN special envoys, Pierre Morel and Johan Verbeke, respectively, co-chairs the Geneva discussions, which involve negotiators from Georgia, Russia, the United States, as well as representatives from the breakaway regions.
“Participants agreed on most of the details of concrete mechanisms to handle disputes and incidents on the ground. The co-chairs will work with the other participants to tackle the few remaining differences with the aim of reaching an agreement at the next meeting,” OSCE said in a press release.
Like the previous round of talks, the December 17-18 meeting was also held within two informal working groups, without holding an official plenary session.
Talks in frames of two separate working groups – one dealing with security issues and another one with matters related to internally displaced persons and refugees – enables negotiators to meet each other on an individual capacity without identifying the entities they are representing; it enables to avoid differences on the status of negotiators mainly related with representatives of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.