Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated on September 14 that Moscow would seek Sokhumi and Tskhinvali’s participation in international talks scheduled for October 15 in Geneva.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh in Sokhumi, Lavrov said: “Any type of discussion on security in the Caucasus can not be, we firmly believe, carried out without Abkhazia or South Ossetia’s participation. The same is true for discussions in the frames of the UN or OSCE on issues related to the presence of peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
Lavrov is expected to arrive in Tskhinvali on September 15. His Georgian counterpart, Eka Tkeshelashvili, condemned the visits as “a farce”
An agreement reached between the French and Russian presidents in Moscow on September 8 envisages the launch of “international discussions as envisaged in point six of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan signed on August 12, 2008.”
According to the agreement these international discussions will be related to the following issues:
• Stability and security in the region;
• Return of refugees based on the internationally recognized principles and practice of post-conflict settlement;
• Other issues for discussion should be mutually agreed between the sides – the agreement does not specify the sides.