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Fifteenth Round of Geneva Talks Concluded
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 5 Mar.'11 / 01:56

Georgian negotiators said after fifteenth round of Geneva talks on March 4, that Russia continued refusing to engage in "substantial discussion" and to commit itself to non-use of force.

"Russia's position on fundamental issues remain unchanged," Sergi Kapanadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister told RFE/RL Georgian service after the talks. "They have no intention to undertake non-use of force commitment."

Tbilisi is insisting on Russia to reciprocate Georgia's non-use of force pledge with a similar commitment, but Russia, arguing that it is not a party into the conflict, refuses and instead calls on Tbilisi to sign, what it calls, "legally binding non-use of force treaties" with Tskhinvali and Sokhumi.

"There is no progress either in respect of international security mechanisms." Kapanadze said. "At this stage they are against of international presence in the occupied regions. But we hope that progress will become possible in respect of international security mechanisms during the following rounds [of Geneva talks]," 

He also expressed hope that some progress would be possible on "removing restrictions movement across the occupation lines" during the next rounds of talks.

The EU, OSCE and UN-mediated talks, involving negotiators from Tbilisi, Moscow, Washington, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, were launched in Geneva two months after the August, 2008 war.

Pierre Morel, EU's special representative and co-chair of the talks, said that despite fundamental differences between participants, there was a shared desire to continue the Geneva discussions. He said that there was an improvement in the working methods with a more constructive and operational approach.

Morel said that he and two other co-chairs from OSCE and UN were determined to make progress on non-use force issue, which, he said, was the central point of discussions.

Geneva discussions are held in two working groups with the first one discussing security-related issues and the second one - humanitarian issues.

OSCE Lithuanian chairmanship's special representative, Giedrius Čekuolis, said after the talks that preparations were completed for the implementation of several projects to supply potable and irrigation water to the population in in the areas affected by the August war.

However, no progress had been made on gas supplies, said Čekuolis, who joined the co-chairs in January when his country took over OSCE chairmanship from Kazakhstan. Georgia shut down gas supply to the Akhalgori district in South Ossetia, which was under Tbilisi's control before the August war, as it does not want the gas it would provide to end up in the hands of Russian troops stationed in the region.

The next, sixteenth round of talks will be held on June 7.

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