Negotiators will meet for twelfth time in Geneva on July 27 in frames of a format established after the August, 2008 war with mediation of EU, OSCE and UN.
Participants from breakaway Abkhazia will be taking part in the talks, despite Sokhumi’s statement in late June that it was “temporarily withdrawing” from the talks, citing that negotiations "have not produced tangible progress" and accusing co-mediators of bias in favor of Tbilisi.
“We do not expect that substantial steps forward will be made during this round of talks, especially against the negative and unconstructive background created by Russia and its proxies – Tskhinvali and Sokhumi,” Giga Bokeria, the first deputy foreign minister, who leads the Georgian delegation at Geneva talks, said on July 26.
“We’ve heard yet another series of threats [from the Abkhaz side] that they would not come to Geneva; it’s good that they are participating; we are in favor of continuation of talks,” Bokeria said.
Shota Utiashvili, head of Interior Ministry’s information and analytical department, who is the Georgian delegation’s member in Geneva talks, said on July 26, that Sokhumi’s statement about the intention to temporarily pull out from talks was “an attempt to blackmail” co-chairs of the negotiations.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a brief press-release on July 24, that “current security situation on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Georgia” would be discussed at the twelfth round of talks.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that “major task of Geneva discussions remains elaboration of a legally binding agreement on non-use of force” – one of the key points of contention.
Russia refuses to be part of such agreement, claiming that it is not the side into the conflict. While Tbilisi says that no additional treaty is required, as non-use of force commitment is already part of August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement, it is ready to sign such new agreement, but only with Moscow and not with its “puppet regimes” in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. The U.S. delegation in Geneva talks supports Tbilisi’s position.
During her visit to Tbilisi on July 5, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Geneva talks “needs to be revived and it needs to be intensified.” She also called on the Abkhaz side “to constructively participate” in the Geneva talks.