Despite “initial difficulties” the sides discussed in “a constructive spirit” security and stability in the region, as well as humanitarian issues, co-chairs of the Geneva discussions said after the fifth round of talks on May 19.
“A key element of this fifth round of Geneva Discussions was that participants began to discuss concrete security arrangements,” Charalampos Christopoulos, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office special representative said. “We are also moving forward on humanitarian questions, including on water, where the OSCE is playing a specific role.”
The Russian delegation, accompanied by the Abkhaz and South Ossetian negotiators, joined the fifth round of Geneva talks on May 19 after boycotting the first day of the meeting on May 18.
“Intensive, sometimes tough exchange of opinions took place during today’s negotiations about the issues related with security and stability in the region,” Itar-Tass news agency reported quoting Grigory Karasin, the Russian deputy foreign minister.
“As usually we have been making focus on the need of striking as soon as possible a binding agreements between Georgia and South Ossetia and also between Georgia and Abkhazia on non-use of force. That is the only guarantee that events of August, 2008 will not reoccur,” Karasin added.
In a joint press statement co-mediators of the talks, representatives of UN, EU and OSCE, said that the sides agreed to hold the next round of talks on July 1.
Like in previous rounds of talks, negotiators from Russia, Georgia and the United States, as well as representatives from breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia met in two working groups on May 19 – one dealing with security matters and another one with humanitarian issues.
“All participants recommitted themselves to the implementation of the joint incident prevention and response mechanisms agreed at the last round of Geneva Discussions. The mechanisms remain the best way for all sides to respond swiftly and adequately to security incidents on the ground,” the co-chairs said in the joint statement. “Participants discussed a wide range of questions relating to security and stability, notably the non-use of force and modalities of international security regimes.”
In the working group dealing with humanitarian issues, the sides discussed five “concept papers” related to socio-economic rehabilitation programmes; property and housing rights; facilitating returns; the legal status of refugees, internally displaced persons and other displaced persons, and the rehabilitation of water supplies.