Pierre Morel, EU’s special envoy and co-mediator of Geneva talks, is visiting Tbilisi as part of his shuttle diplomacy in lead up to the next round of talks planned for February 17-18.
Recently he has already visited Moscow preparing the fourth round of the Geneva talks.
Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said after meeting with the EU diplomat on February 3, that Tbilisi is in favor of holding a plenary session during the talks. “We believe that it is very important to hold the plenary session, which Russia tries to thwart as usually,” Iakobashvili told journalists.
The previous two rounds of talks in November and in December were 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, hence avoiding differences on the status of negotiators mainly related with representatives of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Creation of mechanisms for prevention and investigation of incidents occurring across the administrative borders is expected to continue at the fourth round of talks in Geneva. Mediators, also involving OSCE and UN, said after the previous round of talks in December that the parties were close to strike a deal on the matter, but failed.
Hansjörg Haber, head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), said on January 28 that the matter became “politicized” by the South Ossetian and Abkhaz sides.
He said that EU’s approach was to set up joint mechanisms for cooperation between the law enforcement officers without attracting any elements of political status; while Sokhumi and Tskhinvali want to gain some kind of recognition out of the law enforcement cooperation mechanisms, Haber added.