In his pre-confidence vote meetings in the Parliament of Georgia on December 20, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke about the country’s negotiations with the Russian Federation within the Geneva International Discussions and on the recently-signed contract on monitoring of trade between the two countries.
In a session with the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority, Kvirikashvili said the country had “active talks” with its strategic partners “to considerably intensify the Geneva format, to raise the representative level of the format and widen its mandate, so that it is possible within the format to discuss ways of political solution of the conflict, besides discussing the ceasefire agreement.”
Kvirikashvili reiterated the point in a meeting with the Alliance of Patriots parliamentary faction, saying Georgia sought to “raise the level” in Geneva “from the deputy ministers level to at least ministerial level,” saying he was ready to participate on a prime ministerial level as well. Kvirikashvili repeated that the government wanted to provide the Geneva talks with the mandate to work on “the political solution of the conflict,” and added that “Russia’s actions presently do not offer hope for this,” but that Georgia should carry on with its “constructive approach.”
In a meeting with the United National Movement parliamentary faction, Kvirikashvili said regarding the Russian-occupied regions that the Government of Georgia wanted to actively engage in the Geneva and Abashidze-Karasin formats, and intended to “present a very interesting package on the reconciliation policy, which envisions promoting trade mechanisms.”
Regarding the trade monitoring agreement, Kvirikashvili told the UNM faction members that it had not been implemented since its signing in November 2011 “because there were demands from Russia that were not acceptable” for Georgia. Kvirikashvili also noted that the contract signed on December 19 by the Revenue Service of Georgia with the Société Générale de Surveillance SA (SGS) - a Geneva-based testing and inspection company - contained nothing contrary to Georgia’s interests.
Prime Minister then specified that the contract contained provisions for using a road through Tskhinvali “only in a force majeure situation” when the main road between Russia and Georgia across the Larsi crossing point was closed due to heavy snow or other disaster. He also noted that Tskhinvali road “could also be used in a force majeure situation by Turkey, Armenia and other countries that use Georgia’s transit potential,” and added that so far the contract was signed only by Georgia, and that negotiations were continuing because some proposals advanced by Russia were not acceptable for Tbilisi.
Asked whether this was the initial purpose of the agreement, Kvirikashvili stressed the contract signed with the SGS was “in full compliance with the main agreement of 2011 and not a single article is changed there,” and that it only answered the main agreement’s purpose of trade monitoring, without Georgia providing any specific transportation corridors in advance.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the matter on December 21, saying the contract with the SGS is “an implementation agreement of the well-known main contract signed in 2001,” and that it did not include any additional commitments on Georgia’s part.