Negotiators from Georgia and Russia, as well as breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia met for the eighth round of internationally-mediated talks in Geneva on November 11.
“Progress was reached on the agreement when to hold the next meeting [January 28, 2010]; unfortunately no progress was made on other issues,” Sergi Kapanadze, head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s department for international organizations, told RFE/RL Georgian service via phone from Geneva.
Elements of a potential non-use of treaty and international security arrangements were among the issues discussed at the eighth round of talks.
Kapanadze said that what Russia wanted “is a simple treaty” on non-use of force between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi. Georgia is ready to sign non-use of force treaty, but only with Moscow and if the treaty also includes international security mechanisms within the occupied territories as well.
“Russia does not want international engagement in this process; they do not want international community to act as a guarantor of renewed non-use of force commitment,” Kapanadze said.
Co-chairs of the talks, representatives from EU, OSCE and UN, said in a joint statement after the meeting that the participants of the talks discussed basic elements of a framework for an agreement related to the non-use of force and international security arrangements.
“The discussion was based on elements prepared by the Co-Chairs, following consultations with and including contributions provided by participants since the previous round of Geneva Discussions. Participants agreed that the elements form a good basis for further discussion. The Co-Chairs will continue to work on these elements ahead of the next round,” international mediators said.
OSCE’s Greek chairmanship’s special representative, Charalampos Christopoulos, said that the participants “engaged in pragmatic discussions” on the elements of a potential agreement on the non-use of force and international security arrangements.
International mediators assessed situation on the ground as “relatively stable.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Ministry, Grigory Karasin, said he disagreed with this assessment of the international mediators. He claimed that Georgia renewed flights of its unmanned aerial surveillance drones over Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
International monitors expressed concern about a number of cases of detentions of the Georgian citizens in the vicinity of the breakaway regions’ administrative borders.
In one of the recent cases four Georgian teenagers were detained on November 4 and are still held in Tskhinvali. The issue was raised at the talks by the Georgian side.
According to international mediators, during the meeting the participants “exchanged views” on the report by the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, headed by Heidi Tagliavini, on the causes of the August war.
“Participants agreed the report contained useful lessons to draw on in contributing to building a more stable future,” EU, OSCE and UN representatives said.