52nd round of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasus

52nd round of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasus
26 March 2021 223

52nd round of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasus was held in Geneva on March 25-26, 2021, in which representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Republic of South Ossetia, Georgia, the Russian Federation and the United States took part. The round was co-chaired by the UN, OSCE and the EU.

The delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Irakli Tuzhba included Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Abkhazia Saida Butba, Deputy Chairman of the State Security Service of the Republic of Abkhazia Zaal Khvartskiya, Members of the Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Lolua, Astamur Logua, Lasha Ashuba and officials of the MFA of Abkhazia Lasha Avidzba, Artur Gagulia and Madina Shamba.

In the course of the 52nd round, the main attention was focused on the development and agreement of a joint paper on international guarantees of non-use of force.

The representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia proposed a new version of the text of the oral joint statement, but the Georgian side again refused to respond to another proposal of the Abkhazian side on this key issue on the agenda.

Once again, as a result of the extremely unconstructive approach demonstrated by the Georgian delegation, the parties failed to agree on a compromise solution on this issue.

The situation on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Georgia was described by all participants in the discussions, with the exception of the representatives of Georgia, as calm and stable. A positive assessment was also given to the humanitarian corridors arranged by the Abkhazian authorities.

At the same time, all participants in the meeting expressed unanimous support for the need to take joint steps to unblock the work of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in the town of Gal, as one of the important formats of the Geneva Discussions.

The Abkhazian side once again reaffirmed its commitment to the resumption of the work of this mechanism, provided that specific issues of mutual interest are included in the agenda.

As part of the discussion on the issue of fighting the spread of COVID-19, representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia expressed gratitude to the Russian Federation and representatives of international organizations for their support in the fight against coronavirus infection in Abkhazia. It was noted that the spread of the virus in the republic began to decline and in the near future the Russian vaccine Sputnik V will be delivered to the Republic of Abkhazia.

During the meeting, the Abkhazian side expressed its serious concern over the deepening of Georgia's military-technical cooperation with the United States and NATO. It was emphasized that the ongoing build-up of Georgia's military potential could lead to unpredictable consequences and provoke a new escalation of tension in the region. In this connection, the Abkhazian side confirmed its intentions to continue the development and strengthening of military-technical cooperation with the Russian Federation.

A common interest was reaffirmed in the need to create new approaches to increase the effectiveness and advancement of the work of the Geneva Discussions.

As part of the work of the second working group, a number of humanitarian issues were discussed, in particular, the Abkhazian side once again raised the issue of the possibility of using Abkhazian national passports to travel abroad. Issues of education, access to health care were also discussed.

Following the meeting, the parties decided to continue discussing topical issues in the upcoming round.

The next 53rd round of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in Transcaucasus is scheduled for June 29-30, 2021.

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