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Sokhumi 'Temporarily' Pulls Out of Geneva Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Jun.'10 / 01:07

Sokhumi is "temporarily withdrawing" from Geneva talks, as negotiations launched after the August war "have not produced tangible progress," Nadir Bitiev, a senior aide to Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in an English-language statement released on Wednesday evening.

Bitiev, who is among the group of Abkhaz negotiators at the Geneva talks, said that Sokhumi had already "informed the Office of the Secretariat overseeing the five-party talks" about its decision.

“My government believes the concept of the Geneva talks is sound, and we want to be active participants in a series of discussions which are productive.  We regret having to make this decision at this time. We have done so because the co-moderators have consistently failed to facilitate the talks in a constructive and impartial manner," Bitiev's statement reads.

He also said that the Abkhaz side would "return to the proceedings when the co-moderators present a concrete document that includes propositions from all of the parties and enables open discussion and debate."

"We hope that such a document will be forthcoming in a reasonable timeframe," he said.

The most recent, eleventh round of Geneva talks, with participation of negotiators from Georgia, Russia, United States, as well as from Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, was held on June 8 and the only concrete agreement reached during that meeting was about the date of the next round of talks - on July 27.

Declaration, or a treaty on non-use of force is a key point of contention. Moscow insists on Tbilisi to sign this commitment, along with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. Russia says it can not be part of this declaration as it does not consider itself as a party into conflict. Tbilisi says that although it has already committed itself not to use force under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, it is ready to sign an additional, separate non-use of force treaty, but on the condition if Russia is also part of it. Georgia also wants the new treaty to also reflect the commitments Russia has already undertaken under the six-point agreement, envisaging withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-August war positions.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has said for number of times, including after the recent round of talks, that despite Russia's "unconstructive" position, Geneva talks were "a valuable forum" and expressed readiness "to continue full and constructive engagement in the talks with an aim of discussing all outstanding issues, including the most sensitive and controversial ones."

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