Briefing on the results of the 40th round of the Geneva Discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia

Briefing on the results of the 40th round of the Geneva Discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia
26 June 2017 1345
On June 26, a press conference was held at the Abkhazian Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to the results of the 40th round of the Geneva discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia.

The event was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia Daur Kove, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Protection of the Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Abkhazia Batal Kobakhia, as well as the staff of the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry - Lasha Avidzba and Irakli Tuzhba.

Opening the press conference, the head of the delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia at the Geneva discussions Daur Kove noted that the main attention was traditionally paid to work on developing a joint statement of commitment to the non-use of force, which would serve as an important step towards signing a legally binding agreement on the non-use of force between Georgia And Abkhazia and Georgia and South Ossetia as the main goal of the Geneva discussions. He also stressed that the work continued in two working groups - on security and humanitarian issues.

Deputy Minister of Culture and Protection of the Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Abkhazia Batal Kobakhia, who participated in the second working group on humanitarian issues, spoke in detail about the issues discussed within the group. "A large range of humanitarian issues was discussed. These are environmental issues, the restoration of archival documents, as well as the preservation of the cultural heritage of Abkhazia. As part of the Geneva discussions, work is underway to return the archives, but there is no systematic work on the materials that come here and it is necessary to make a roadmap on which we could identify the long-term goal of this direction and short-term results," - he said.

Batal Kobakhia also spoke about the possibility of creating in the future a working expert group that could come to Abkhazia and make an assessment of certain objects. In this group there will be experts from Russia, experts from UNESCO. "The entire cultural heritage that we have in Abkhazia is our property. And we will not allow anyone to single out one or another object and say that this is Georgian architecture, Russian or Greek and will not allow anyone to deal with these objects. We will define here in Abkhazia, those objects that need to be put on stream for study, evaluation and restoration," - he stressed.

Speaking about the work of the first group, the Foreign Minister Daur Kove noted that on the first day, during a meeting with the representatives of Georgia, the Abkhaz side received a proposal to take an oral statement on the non-use of force. "This was a text that was offered by the Georgian side earlier. By making a minor correction to the text that was acceptable to all participants, we already hoped that on the second day this statement would be accepted. But, apparently, after certain consultations that the Georgian side held with its leadership, they decided to postpone the adoption of the joint statement for the next round. I want to say that this time we were more than ever close to signing this document," - he stressed.

In addition, during the talks, the issue of closing two checkpoints on the border with Georgia was touched upon. "The Georgian side and the Co-Chairs are well aware of our position. On May 17, we brought here a large delegation of the Co-Chairmen, who had the opportunity to visit these closed checkpoints, they saw the road and transport infrastructure. They saw that there was no humanitarian catastrophe," - Daur Kove said.

It was also about the relationship between NATO and Georgia. "We cannot but be disturbed by the growing interaction between the NATO block and Georgia, which is manifested, among other things, in joint military exercises. We stated that such actions on the border with Abkhazia are unacceptable and made it very clear that such events in no way contribute to leading a kind of peace process, which Georgia constantly says," - said Cove.

Special attention was paid to the adoption of a politicized draft resolution on refugees at Georgia's suggestion on June 1 2017 at the meeting of the UN General Assembly. Taking into account this unconstructive approach of the Georgian side, the Abkhaz and South Ossetian delegations in both working groups distributed a joint statement denoting the inadmissibility of discussing refugee issues in the framework of the second working group in the format of the Geneva discussions, taking into account the fact that this issue is periodically submitted by the Georgian side at other international sites where the Republic of Abkhazia is not represented.

The next 41st round of the Geneva International Discussions on Security and Stability in Transcaucasia is scheduled for October 10-11, 2017.

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