Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Next Round of Geneva Talks

Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has been falsely accusing the Georgian side for abandoning Geneva discussions on October 15 and not planning to take part in the next round of negotiations on November 18, 2008. Such claims are absolutely groundless and represent yet another example of Soviet type propaganda aimed at misleading the international community.

Georgia believes that the moderators have done an outstanding job in organizing the first round of the Geneva discussions. The existing format of the talks creates all the preconditions for successful conduct of the second and future rounds. Georgia stands ready to continue constructive engagement in the Geneva talks, as we have done on October 15.

It is not Georgia, but the Russian Federation, and its proxy regimes of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region, who are responsible for the suspension of the first round of Geneva talks. As is well known, the Russian side boycotted the plenary session, which was attended by the representatives of the UN, EU, OSCE, as the moderators, and Georgia and the United States of America, as participants. This was the format agreed among all parties. Moreover, the Russian side and the proxy regimes of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region also boycotted the meetings of the working groups, where, as agreed in advance, the participants were to take part on an informal level to discuss the issues related to the security and stability in Abkhazia, Georgia, and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia, as well as the safe and dignified return of the IDPs to their places of residence.

The Georgian side is looking forward to taking part in the next round of negotiations in Geneva on November 18, in the format agreed among all parties. We also hope that this time the Russian Federation will participate in the plenary, as a demonstration of its dedication to the peace process. The Geneva format, in our opinion, is a good way forward to solve the existing problems and discuss outstanding issues. The Georgian side, on its part, will be closely cooperating with the moderators and all the interested parties to make sure that the next meeting within the Geneva format takes place on November 18, as planned.

Tbilisi, 3 November, 2008