The Art of Diplomacy: The Year of the Geneva Discussions


In 2019 took place four rounds of international discussions on stability and security in Transcaucasia. The Geneva talks were launched on October 15, 2008. The discussions are held in accordance with the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreements that were reached after the Georgian aggressor, which committed aggression against the Republic of South Ossetia on August 8, 2008, was forced to peace

The main goal of the discussions was and remains the development of bilateral legally binding agreements on the non-use of Georgian forces against South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The main questions are unchanged

To date, the work continues on the development of a legally binding document on the non-use of force. However, due to the fault of the Georgian side and a number of participants, there is no positive dynamics in this crucial issue.

Murat Dzhioev, Presidential Plenipotentiary for Post-Conflict Resolution and part-time head of the delegation at the Geneva discussions, always noted that the Geneva discussions are the only platform for a dialogue between the representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with Georgia. And today there are no other platforms. Although South Ossetia is ready, on equal terms with Georgia, to participate in other international stands and bring to the world community the position of the authorities of the Republic of South Ossetia and an objective picture of the events.

The Geneva discussions are held in two working groups, which discuss both security and humanitarian issues. The participants in the discussions at each round are unanimous in their opinion regarding the high importance of the Geneva format, which for eleven years has been an effective mechanism for maintaining regional security.

The politicization of humanitarian issues

Regarding humanitarian issues, at each meeting, representatives of South Ossetia emphasize the importance of the refugee problem, which is mandated to be part of the Geneva discussions. The refugee problem is important, first of all, for South Ossetia, since this problem exists since at least 1920, when part of the population of South Ossetia was exterminated, and the rest was evicted to the north of Ossetia. The head of the South Ossetian delegation has repeatedly said during the dialogue that in 1990-1992, about 100 thousand Ossetians were expelled from Georgia, the issue of which also remains unresolved, and it cannot be removed from the agenda.

Murat Dzhioev has stressed that this is why in Geneva every time they emphasize that there is ample scope for discussing this issue atf the Geneva discussions. But the Georgian authorities, according to the Plenipotentiary, since 2009 annually submit to the rostrum of the UN General Assembly a resolution on refugees and internally displaced persons, which is clearly a politicized document, and reflects only the Georgian position. And against such a background, the South Ossetian party considers the discussion of this issue in Geneva pointless.

“The delegation of South Ossetia suggests that representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia should also have the opportunity to convey their position to the UN member states, or that Georgia should ceasesto politicize this problem. But each year, the US authorities either refuse to grant us a visa, or we don’t receive an invitation from the UN, ”said Dzhioev.

South Ossetia also annually sends a substantial information on refugee issues to the UN, and with the help of the Russian delegation distributes it among its participants.

The missing persons

One of the factors affecting the climate in the region as a whole is the question of clarifying and searching for the fate of the missing. Earlier, according to Murat Dzhioev, the OSCE representatives assured them that they would continue to work with the new Georgian authorities. He expressed the hope that the new government would treat this issue with understanding. “Moreover, in Geneva every time we emphasize that the current Georgian authorities do not bear personal responsibility, since the crimes against the residents of South Ossetia were committed by representatives of the government of Mikheil Saakashvili. Revealing the fate of citizens of South Ossetia would be regarded as a factor contributing to the emergence of confidence in the Georgian side,” Dzhioev emphasized.

This problem is very important for South Ossetia. President Anatoly Bibilov each time directs the participants in the Geneva discussions to keep the fate of young people who are missing in the limelight at every meeting. An independent international expert, Dushan Ignatovich, is also working on this issue.

Uista – a subject of discussion at the negotiations

The 50th round of the Geneva International Discussions on Security and Stability in Transcaucasia was the final one in the past year, and the delegation of South Ossetia could not help but put on the agenda the situation in the village of Uista, Znaur district, where in August last year, Georgian police erected an illegal post on the territory of South Ossetia. This provocative step of the Georgian side forced South Ossetia to take retaliatory measures in order to ensure the safety of residents of adjacent settlements and erected t its post.

Earlier, to discuss the agenda of the next round of discussions, the co-chairs arrived in Tskhinval, where they met with colleagues, they were also received by President Anatoly Bibilov. The head of state said during the dialogue that it was time for the Georgian side to recognize that the Republic of South Ossetia is an independent state, and in this regard to build the work with our Republic. He appealed to the co-chairs to do everything to sign a document on the non-use of force by Georgia against South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"I am sure that if this document had been signed, the current problem in Uista simply would not have occurred, and the Georgian side would not have committed provocations to circumvent your position. If we come to the same opinion that the process of settling Georgian adventures dangerous for our people will be able to move from the dead point. We are ready to discuss and resolve all issues together. We do not intend to deviate from the agreements reached, and we hope that our position will be heard, " the President said at the meeting.

The report on the results of the 50th round of discussions says: “In order to de-escalate and return to the situation that existed before August 23, the South Ossetian delegation drew the attention of other delegations to attempts to hush up the responsibility of the initiator of the new aggravation and suggested the Georgian party to remove the illegal post and withdraw representatives of its power structures and begin to consider the possibility of establishing a security zone in the border area from the village of Tsnelis (Uista) to the Georgian settlement of Chorchana".

The round will be attended by delegations from the Republic of South Ossetia, the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA, as well as representatives of the EU, UN and OSCE. The South Ossetian delegation is led by the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of South Ossetia for post-conflict settlement Murat Dzhioev.

The role of IPRMI

The IPRM is one of the few successful examples of practical application development, which was organized as a result of the efforts of diplomats from various countries. At the meetings, the parties discuss situations in border settlements, and quickly resolve issues via the “hot line”. The meetings are held almost monthly, and if necessary, emergency so-called “technical meetings” are held as part of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms.

On August 29, 2019, on the South Ossetian-Georgian border, near the village of Ergnet, the regular, 95th meeting of the format of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) was held. The South Ossetian delegation in the IPRM format is headed by Yegor Kochiev, Deputy Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy of South Ossetia for post-conflict settlement.

After the aggravation due to the fault of the Georgian side of the situation in the village of Uista, several technical meetings were held at which the only issue was discussed - the situation at the border. Unfortunately, the parties did not come to a common denominator, but the position of South Ossetia remains unchanged - the illegal post of the Georgian police should be removed from the territory of South Ossetia.

Moreover, South Ossetia is ready for dialogue on the state border line. “Since 2009, we have repeatedly proposed and are proposing to sit at the negotiating table on all the issues, including on the state border line. between Tsnelis and Chorchana. If the Georgian party believes that this post was erected for the safety of residents of the Georgian villages, then it should be installed near the Georgian villages and on the territory of Georgia,” said Murat Dzhioev.

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