Russia backed Sokhumi’s claims against head of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and told the European Union to try resolve the dispute and find “a compromise solution” directly with the Abkhaz side.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on April 27, that EU special representative for South Caucasus and co-chair of Geneva talks, Philippe Lefort, phoned Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who is Russia’s chief negotiator in the Geneva talks, to discuss a failed meeting of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Gali and Sokhumi’s decision to declare EUMM head, Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, “undesirable persons on the territory of Abkhazia”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said, that during the phone conversation on April 26 Lefort “expressed concern over the refusal of the Abkhaz authorities to receive on their territory head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia Gen. Tyszkiewicz. In his opinion, this move undertaken by the Abkhaz side may seriously damage to the joint work in frames of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism.”
It said that Karasin told Lefort “to discuss this issue, first and foremost, with Sukhumi, which is a full-fledged participant of the Geneva discussions.”
“It was also noted, that the Abkhaz position has its logic, because during the recent round of Geneva discussions Mr. Tyszkiewicz declined Abkhaz appeal to make a note of incidents in the border zone, including number of killings, and demanded in an insulting tone from the Abkhaz representatives [EUMM’s] access to the territory of Abkhazia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It said that “a compromise solution should be found with Sukhumi in order to continue work of the IPRM.”
Tbilisi said that Moscow was behind Sokhumi’s recent demarche against the EUMM head. The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on April 26, that it was part of Moscow’s attempts to diminish the role of the EUMM.
“These and other demarches against EUMM clearly demonstrate that the Russian side is uncomfortable with a neutral and impartial international presence on the territory of Georgia,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry responded, that Georgia’s statement contained “made up accusations towards Russia and was in fact directed towards escalation of tensions in the region and undermining of atmosphere of the Geneva discussions.”