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Russia Wants Removing 'Int'l Security Arrangements' from Geneva Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 15 Dec.'11 / 23:34

Russia demanded removing from the Geneva talks discussions on "international security arrangements" - one of the key issues, linked with the non-use of force, which is regularly discussed during the negotiations, launched after the August 2008 war. 
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on December 15, a day after the eighteenth round of Geneva talks, that "legally binding documents on non-use of force" between Tbilisi and Sokhumi, as well as between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali had "'no alternative." It also reiterated Moscow's position to act as a guarantor of such agreements - Russia is rejecting Tbilisi's calls to be part of such agreement, or to even reciprocate Georgia's unilateral non-use of force pledge with a similar declaration claiming that it is not a party into the conflict.   

"The Abkhaz, Russian and South Ossetian delegations spoke against a proposal by co-chairs of the Geneva discussions to keep in thier agenda an item on 'international security arrangements'," the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that the co-chairs' proposals on this issue have not bee supported by "a number of participants" and that this agenda item has not been part of the EU-mediated six-point ceasefire agreement, based on which the Geneva talks were launched.

International security arrangements involve set of proposals on the modalities in which the non-use of force can be secured; as EU diplomat, Pierre Morel, who was a co-chair of the Geneva talks till this August, put it, these two concepts are interlinked and should go hand in hand.

"If you want to work on non-use of force, you have also to work on the international security arrangements," Morel said in an interview with Civil.ge in December, 2010. "Non-use of force is not the kind of concept which is floating in the air. This is something related to concrete situations, which implies rules of behavior... on the ground. Otherwise, why should one enter into this complex exercise?.. So we have always spoken of 'non-use of force and international security arrangements'. If partners, interlocutors are ready to commit themselves [on non-use of force], they also look into the modalities in which this can be secured."

In respect of security arrangements on the ground, Georgia aims at achieving presence of international police and peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, according to the Georgian diplomats; they say Tbilisi, being aware that no such outcome is feasible in short term, is pushing for observers from the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to be able to pay regular fact-finding visits to the breakaway region, where they are not allowed for regular monitoring, something that they do in rest of Georgia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called on EUMM to monitor and prevent more actively, activities of the Georgian law enforcement agencies in the vicinity of the administrative boundary lines.

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