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The 10th round

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, March 23
The 10th round of Geneva negotiations will be held on March 30. Preliminary consultations have been held in Sokhumi, Tskhinvali and Tbilisi but it is likely that there will not be much progress in the talks.

One can predict that the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali puppet regime representatives will again raise the issue of Tbilisi signing non-use of force agreements with them. Georgia has a very principled approach to this and is not going to sign any agreement with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as they are de jure regions of Georgia. Although the separatist leaders, encouraged by Moscow, insist on such agreements being signed on the grounds that there is a so-called "new reality" in which they are sovereign states like Georgia, the latter is prepared to sign agreements only with Moscow.

The Kremlin is using this issue to play a wicked game. If Georgia signs such an agreement it indirectly recognises the breakaway regions as independent states, but if it does not the puppet regimes and their Moscow patrons will try to improve their image in the world by saying that they want peace and Tbilisi does not. While it is doing this Russia itself continues to increase its military presence in both regions and continually speculates about possible aggression from the Georgian side, saying this is a real threat to a Russian Army larger than the entire population of the two breakaway regions.

Most probably the irresponsible hoax programme on Imedi TV will also be discussed at the Geneva negotiations. The separatists, in particular the Ossetians, want this issue discussed as according to them this simulation has created a very tense situation in the region. Indeed the Imedi stunt created a very unfavourable situation inside Georgia proper too. On the one hand it stressed that such an invasion was a real possibility and on the other it created unnecessary panic. If the matter is discussed, officially or otherwise, it will be interesting to hear what the Georgian delegation has to say about it.

Most probably the Geneva summit will not discuss the Georgian Government’s new strategy on the occupied territories. The Sokhumi and Tskhinvali regimes controlled by Moscow see this plan as too little, too late. Most probably the Geneva negotiations will touch upon humanitarian issues and the prevention of incidents, but Georgia is likely to quote the strategy while discussing the solution to these problems, bring it to the table by the back door, though it remains to be seen if anyone outside the Georgian Government takes any notice of this document.

Meanwhile Georgia is more concerned with domestic problems and the forthcoming local elections. All sides should try to ensure that the Geneva negotiations do not become yet another aspect of the prolonged National Movement election campaign, as the real lives of real people are at stake in any conflict regulation negotiations, and this should be everyone's prime concern.