Sides discussed elements of a potential agreement on non-use of force during the seventh round of Geneva talks on September 17, one of co-chairs of the meeting, OSCE Greek chairmanship’s special envoy, Charalampos Christopoulos, said.
Negotiators from Georgia, Russia, the United States, as well as from breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia met at EU, OSCE and UN-chaired talks in Geneva and agreed to reconvene for the eighth round of meeting on November 11.
“From the OSCE perspective, the key element of this round of the discussions was that there was a practical, detailed exchange of views on elements for a potential agreement on the non-use of force and international security arrangements,” Christopoulos said.
He also added that the co-chairs of the talks, OSCE, UN and EU, would draft elements of an agreement for the next round.
Russia has long been insisting on the need of signing of non-use of force agreements between Tbilisi and Sokhumi, as well as between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. Georgia, however, says that such agreement should only be signed between Russia and Georgia and it should also envisage “de-occupation” of Georgia’s two breakaway regions.
“This agreement should be signed between Georgia and Abkhazia and Georgia and South Ossetia – this is categorically unacceptable for the Georgian side and that is the difficulty,” Grigori Karashin, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, who leads the Russian delegation at the Geneva talks, told RIA Novosti news agency on September 17.
The OSCE Greek chairmanship’s special representative said that although differences remain, discussions “were a constructive, forward-looking contribution to stability and security in a troubled region.”
The United States was represented at the meeting by new Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Tina Kaidanow, who participated in the Geneva talks for the first time as she took over the post in August.