Boris Chochiev: “The Geneva talks are the only venue where we can discuss acute problems with Georgia”

Thu, 09/07/2009 - 13:14

The Special Representative for Post-Conflict Settlement Boris Chochiev told IA RES about the 6th round of Geneva talks taking place on 1 July
Boris Chochiev: Back in February, an agreement on Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) was achieved within the frames of the Geneval talks. We agreed that all organizational issues will be discussed and settled at the Mechanism meetings. As you know, there were two meetings held – in Ergneti and in Dvani. None of these meetings resulted in our agreement on chairmanship of the meetings. We have suggested two variants. Representatives of Russia and the EU might co-chair the meetings, since these are the signatories of the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreements. We had also proposed that chairmanship at the meetings would be rotating between the participating sides. None of our proposals was adopted.

At the sixth round of Geneva talks we have suggested the third variant that the presidency would be rotating only between Georgia and South Oseetia. In response to this proposal, the Georgian side stated that South Ossetia would not possibly chair these meetings, and insisted on the EUMM’s chairmanship. In this regard we decided to refuse these meetings until these issues are not settled. We are also insisting on obtaining information on the whereabouts of three citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia. It is crucial.
We do not agree with them insisting on holding meetings on the territory of South Ossetia. At the Geneva talks in February, we stated that in accordance with the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement the meetings should be held on the territory of Georgia adjacent to South Ossetia. And another issues is about the EUMM, who are able to work on the territory of Georgia adjacent to South Ossetia, but not inside South Ossetia.
IA RES: What else has been discussed in Geneva?
Boris Chochiev: During the 6ths round of Geneva talks, we have circulated a draft agreement on non-use of force by Georgia against South Ossetia. Similar draft proposal was circulated by Russia at the meeting in May. It is strange that the Georgian side has also presented a blasphemous proposal on non-aggression by the Russian side, meaning that the war occurred between Russia and Georgia. As to the USA, Georgia, UN and EU, it was clear that they were not going to seriously consider our proposal on non-use of force. It would have been different if Russia did not hastily implement one of the points in the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan obliging Russia to withdraw its forces from the territories adjacent to Georgia before the deployment of international mechanisms in these zones, including over 200 EU monitors and before there are legally binding documents guaranteeing non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Russian side tried too hard to implement the commitments hoping that Georgia, EU and UN would also be law-abiding. If Russia had demanded for observance of all agreements, and only after that withdrew the forces, t would not be us now asking for adoption of this document. It would be Georgia, US., UN, EU asking for it.
IA RES: How would you characterize the work of your foreign colleagues in Geneva?
Boris Chochiev: It is clear that Matthew Bryza (the US. representative to the Geneva talks) – is a weak, young diplomat. We knew that he would not be participating in the Geneva discussions. But now he is assigned as the US. Ambassador in Azerbaidjan. I would say, he had left not nicely. For instance, to my question how he could comment on the statement of the Georgian fascists Saakashvili "the only thing I regret about is that I did not start the was in South Ossetia earlier", he responded publicly that "the Untied States was arming Georgia and it will continue to do so", and that the primary goal of the States, according to him, is to create a mobile, civilized and trained army. And I told him that he was responsible for the bloodshed, since we have information proving that Bryza was the one who elaborated the plan of the military operation "Cleared Field".
IA RES: How fruitful are the Geneva talks?
Boris Chochiev: I believe, at this stage the Geneva talks are needed, for this is the only format gathering all the sides to discuss the issues, which should be settled. For us, the issues of security and the missing citizens of South Oseetia and other humanitarian problems are crucial. We have no contacts with Georgia, therefore, the Geneva talks are the only venue where we can discuss acute problems. How it further develops is a matter of time.

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