Boris Chochiev: South Ossetia should continue its participation in Geneva discussions

Fri, 20/11/2009 - 16:34

During his briefing in Tskhinval, the Special Representative for Post-Conflict Settlement Boris Chochiev told about the consultations on security in the Caucasus held in Geneva on 11 November. According to him, after the preliminarily agreement on the agenda has been reached, the first day’s discussions started with the situation at the area adjacent to the borderline between South Ossetia and Georgia and Abkhazia and Georgia.
‘The incidents at the borderline, including the detention of 16 Georgian citizens who trespassed the border of South Ossetia, as well as the 4 underage Georgian citizens who were detained with hand-grenades and explosives on the territory of South Ossetia were discussed. The Georgian side tried to build up the discussion so that it is focused on these four teenagers, but the report of the South Ossetian delegation focused drew the attention of the discussions’ participants on a more vital problem of abducted South Ossetians, including an underage persons. The Georgian side so far had refused to provide any information on местонахождении the fate of these persons.

While the relatives and representatives of the ICRC have the possibility to visit Georgian detainees who were arrested with weapons, the relatives of our citizens know nothing about them”, stressed Chochiev. He reported that the South Ossetian delegation made a statement on its intention to suspend the participation in the work of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms until there are valid evidences provided about the fate of our citizensе. “We do not consider them missing; we have clear evidences that Khugaev, Khachirov, Pliev and Ikaev are kept by the Georgian law enforcement bodies”, states the Special Representative.
According to him, the Georgian side was notified that “it is necessary for both sides to bring to an end the issue with the detainees, and exchange persons based on the principle “all for all”.
Geneva talks had also discussed the report of the EU Fact-Finding Mission headed by Heidi Tagliavini on the causes of the war in South Ossetia in August 2008. “South Ossetia had enough claims towards the conclusions of Tagliavini’s mission, but at the same time it clearly points to which side was the aggressor and the states which armed Georgia were also named. We stated that from now on all discussions in Geneva should be conducted with a due account to the findings of Tagliavini’s report”, stated Chochiev. According to Special Representative, the South Ossetian side would prepare for the next round of Geneva discussions a set of recommendations on imposing embargo over the supplies of weapons to Georgia, since this state is again getting prepared for another aggression”.
”One of the evidences is the construction of the so-called “village for people affected residents of Leningor district” in the Georgian village of Tserovani. To our knowledge, a major part of the funds allocated by the United States (1 bil USD) were used for construction of 3000 houses in Tserovani. These houses will be used for a future military base. When we stated that in Geneva, no one, including the Georgian delegation, did not disclaim this statement”, said Chochiev.
On of the main preconditions for defusing the tensions in the Caucasus is the signing of a non-use of force paper between South Ossetia and Georgia. According to Chochiev, “if this kind of paper is not signed there will be no move forward”.
“As stated by the Russian side, the South Ossetian draft paper on non-use of force is the most acceptable. To the question if Georgia was ready to sign this paper, the Head of the Georgian delegation Gigi Bokeria stated that “before Russia withdraws its occupational forces, Georgia would not sign anything.” In response, we stated that the Russian forces in accordance with the bilateral agreements would stay on the territory of South Ossetia, unless Georgia provides international guarantees of non-use of force”, stressed the Special Representative.
In the meantime, Chochiev noted that despite the fact that Georgia had previously signed all internationally biding documents, including Dagomyss agreements, Moscow Memorandum of 1996, it did not prevent Georgia and its protectors to wage a full-scale aggression against South Ossetia.
“In case this paper is signed, no one knows how well it will be implemented. But at this initial stage, Georgia should undertake this obligation on non-use of force with facilitation of international guarantors – Russia and European Union”, stated Chochiev.
He cast doubts on the perspective that this agreement is signed in the nearest future, taking into account the current position of Georgia, but he noted the importance of South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s participation in Geneva discussions. “This is the only format where South Ossetia has the possibility to work on an international arena on an equal basis and search for allies. The mere possibility to inform the parties on our viewpoint and the current events serves as a guarantee of a kind that there will be no repeated last year’s tragic events”, stated the Special Representative.
To remind, upon the preliminary agreement, the ninth round of Geneva discussions will take placed in January 2010.

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