Geneva Discussions Co-Chairmen Meet with South Ossetian Officials

Thu, 17/02/2011 - 13:26

A meeting of the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva discussions on security in South Caucasus with the members of the South Ossetia delegation to the discussions took place in Tskhinval. For the South Ossetian side the Special Representative for Post-Conflict Settlement Boris Chochiev, Deputy Special Representative Merab Chigoev, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Murat Djioev and the Special Representative for Human Rights David Sanakoev participated in the meeting. The delegation included the EU Envoy Pierre Moreal, OSCE Representative for protracted conflicts Giedrius Chekuolis and the UN Co-Chairman Antti Turunen. In his opening speech, Chochiev conveyed apologies from the South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity, a meeting with whom was in the initial program of the visit of the Co-Chairmen to South Osseita. The meeting was cancelled due to technical reasons.

When discussing the agenda, the Special Representative noted that South Ossetia was still concerned with the absence of information about the South Ossetian citizens abducted in 2008 by Georgian law enforcement bodies and reported missing by Georgian authorities. "The relatives of the missing have the possibility to convey their grievances to international community only through the format of the Geneva discussions", said Chochiev.
He underlined that the priority issue for the discussions to the South Ossetian side was the elaboration of document on non-use of force by Georgia against South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"It has been almost three years that there are no developments in this issue", stated Chigoev.
The Special Representative said that the statements of the Georgian president Saakashvili on the intention not to use force in the settlement of conflicts in the Caucasus are not trusted in South Ossetia unless there corresponding agreements.
"I would like to remind the recent statement of Saakashvili to the Georgian television when he said that "the war is not over" and that he hoped to celebrate the New Year in Sukhum", said Chochiev. He also reminded about the peace initiative that South Ossetia moved forward before the Georgian aggression in August 2008. "At that time we insisted on the signing of a document on non-use of force, but the Georgian leadership categorically reject this step, and this caused concerns and indicators of Georgia's inability to solve the problems by peaceful means. Our fears proved right through the August 2008 events", said the Special Representative.
He stated that the South Ossetian delegation would raise at the Geneva discussions the issue of gas supply to Leningor district of South Ossetia, the inhabitants of which have to survive the third winter without gas transited from Russia via Georgia.
In his turn, the EU Envoy Pierre Morel noted that the Co-Chairs of the Geneva Discussions considered this format effective since all sides involved in the 2008 August war had had the possibility to meet and discuss priority issues.
"The questions raised today are the subject of concern of the Co-Chairs and the settlement of these problems requires efforts of all sides", said Morel.
According to him, the statement of Saakashvili on non-use of force was important although it did not meet the expectations of the South Ossetian side. "This statement gained its legal frames once submitted in a letter to the UN, and this will be further discussed in Geneva", stated the EU Envoy.
He positively assessed the resumption of regular meetings within the frameworks of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IRPM) in the areas adjacent to the borderline between South Ossetia and Georgia, noting their relevant agenda and the opportunity to settle the problems emerging in the borderline area on the ground.
It is worth reminding that the next round of Geneva discussions is scheduled for 4 March.

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