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Sixth Round of Geneva Talks ‘Sometimes Difficult’ but ‘Constructive’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Jul.'09 / 00:44

Georgian and Abkhaz sides will meet in frames of incident prevention mechanisms in Gali on July 14, according to the agreement reached by the sides during the talks in Geneva on Wednesday.

Negotiators from Georgia, Russia, the United States, as well as from breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia held sixth round of EU, OSCE and UN-mediated talks in Geneva on July 1 and agreed to reconvene for the seventh round of meeting on September 17.

If held, it will be the first meeting of this kind in frames of the incident prevention mechanisms in respect of Abkhazia.

OSCE and EU facilitated meeting in frames of incident prevention mechanism was held twice in respect of South Ossetia with participation of Georgian, South Ossetia sides and Russian military commanders. The third meeting was scheduled for June 23, but was canceled after the South Ossetian side’s refusal to take part. Reports said that Tskhinvali was demanding release several South Ossetians, which it claims remain in the Georgian detention since the August war. The Georgian side denies the allegation. No date of the third meeting has yet been set.

“These mechanisms remain the best way for all sides to respond swiftly to security incidents on the ground, and are an important practical step to help foster and maintain stability and security,” co-mediators from EU, OSCE and UN said in a joint statement after the talks.

International co-mediators also said that the sixth round of discussions “again took place in a constructive spirit.”

“As usual, this sixth session was sometimes difficult, without being dramatic,” Pierre Morel, EU’s special representative for Georgia crisis, said.

Like the previous rounds, the recent one was also held in two working groups – one on security issues and another one on humanitarian issues.

During the talks in frames of the first working group the Georgian and Russian sides exchanged written proposals on non-use of force.

Russia has long been insisting on the need of signing of non-use of force agreements between Tbilisi and Sokhumi, as well as between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. Georgia, however, said that such agreement could only be signed between Russia and Georgia and it should also envisage “de-occupation” of Georgia’s two breakaway regions. Giga Bokeria, Georgian deputy foreign minister and chief negotiator, said that such agreement should also include proposals on deployment of international police force in the two breakaway regions.

In the second working group dealing with the humanitarian issues, the negotiators discussed “substantive issues” and agreed “to move towards a comprehensive plan to address the multi-faceted displacement issues,” the co-mediators said in the statement.

“These included adequate conditions conducive to returns, including security, confidence building and human rights; issues related to the socio-economic rehabilitation of infrastructure and the provision of public services,” the statement said.

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