On 3 March, 2021 Irakli Tuzhba, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia, held a meeting with the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva International Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasia - with Toivo Klaar, the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Annika Söder, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in the South Caucasus, and Azat Lachinyan, the Political Affairs Officer of the Office of the United Nations Representative to the Geneva Discussions. Lasha Avidzba, Arthur Gagulia and Madina Shamba, the Abkhaz Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and Geneva Discussions participants also participated in the meeting.
The main subject of the meeting was a discussion of the agenda for the upcoming 52-nd round of the International Geneva Discussions.
In the welcoming speech, Irakli Tuzhba, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia once again stressed that for the Abkhaz side the most important and key issue within the framework of the Geneva Discussions is the agreement and further signing of a document on international guarantees of non-use of force.
Irakli Tuzhba also stressed that despite the lack of tangible progress in solving this issue, the Abkhazian side intends to continue to work in the format of the International Geneva Discussions, which is the only international platform, where security issues in the South Caucasus are discussed. It was noted that because of the extremely destructive position of the Georgian side for many years, the process of reaching agreement on a document on international guarantees on the non-use of armed force remained in complete stagnation.
Assessing the epidemiological situation in Abkhazia, Irakli Tuzhba noted that the situation has normalized and there is an active reduction in the incidence of COVID-19.
Irakli Tuzhba said that in the near future the delivery of a vaccine against coronavirus infection Sputnik-V from the Russian Federation to the Republic of Abkhazia is expected, which has proven to be the most effective and recognized as the safest vaccine against COVID-19.
Toivo Klaar, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, began his speech by introducing of Annika Söder, the new Co-Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus, to the meeting. He also stressed the importance of discussing the full range of issues on the agenda and expressed confidence in the in-depth discussions during the meeting.
In turn, Annika Söder, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus, noted the importance of making maximum use of all tools for the effective work of the Geneva Discussions. She also expressed the need to continue working to strengthen the role of women in conflict resolution.
As part of the security discussion, Irakli Tuzhba, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Abkhazia urged the co-chairs to pay attention to the ongoing strengthening of military-technical cooperation between Georgia and Western countries. He stressed that the Abkhazian side considers these processes as a direct threat to its own security. In addition, an active military build-up of Georgia could lead to unpredictable consequences and provoke a new escalation of tension in the region.
Irakli Tuzhba said that the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry has been regularly issuing statements urging the international community to take measures to prevent militarization of the region. At the same time, the appeals of the Abkhazian side remain unanswered by representatives of international structures.
Irakli Tuzhba stressed that, taking into account all the challenges and threats that face the Republic of Abkhazia, as a response to ensure its own security, the Abkhazian side intends to follow the path of development and strengthening of military and technical cooperation with its strategic ally - the Russian Federation, which acts as a guarantor of secure and peaceful development of the republic.
During the meeting, a number of other issues on the agenda related to the humanitarian aspects of cooperation were also discussed.
The next round of the 52nd International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasia is scheduled for March 25