Newly signed treaty on alliance and strategic partnership between Moscow and Sokhumi poses no threat to the Geneva talks, launched after the August 2008 war, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said.
Next round of the Geneva talks, which are held with participation of negotiators from Georgia, Russia, the United States, as well as from Tskhinvali and Sokhumi, will be held next week.
“I won’t hide that we are concerned over attempts by Tbilisi to portray recently signed Russian-Abkhaz treaty on alliance and strategic partnership as some kind of a threat to Geneva discussions,” Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference on December 2.
“There is no threat to the Geneva discussions, which are extremely important for all of its participants. We sincerely hope that reshuffled Georgian delegation will not stir pointless politicized bickering under overtly invented pretext,” he said.
Lukashevich said that at the Geneva talks the Russian side will keep on pushing for the need of signing “binding non-use of force agreements” between Tbilisi and Sokhumi, and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali.
Georgia says that it has already undertaken unilateral non-use of force pledge in 2010 and insists on Russia to reciprocate. But Moscow has been refusing to make such declaration as it does not consider itself to be a party in the conflict and instead wants Tbilisi to sign non-use of force treaties with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. In the Geneva talks participants have been discussing for a long time already without progress possibility of adopting a joint statement on non-use of force. Tbilisi wants the text of this joint statement to make a reference to the need of Moscow to undertake non-use of force pledge.
Lukashevich said that the Russian negotiators are “ready to work constructively, to take flexible approach, and to take into consideration interests of all the participants” of the Geneva talks.
Asked at a news conference on December 2 if Moscow is planning to sign a new treaty with Tskhinvali – similar to the one signed with Sokhumi, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman responded that Moscow is “constantly working on improvement of international, legal basis of our relations with South Ossetia.”
These efforts with Tskhinvali, he said, “do not necessarily mean” that there will be an agreement similar to one signed with Abkhazia.
“It might be other form of development of relations on the basis of agreements, which were signed in 2008” after Russia recognized South Ossetia, Lukashevich said.