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‘Round and ‘round at Geneva

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 30
Since the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, a process of negotiations called the Geneva talks have been held regularly to discuss regional security issues. At their most fundamental, these are Russian-Georgian negotiations in the presence of Western observers. This week marks the beginning of the 19th round of these talks.

Russia is trying to stubbornly force the international community and Georgia to accept its so-called new reality. It is promoting its version of the war, saying that Russia has no conflict with Georgia, hypocritically asserting that it is a peacekeeper, and that the conflict is between Georgia and the “independent” states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. To achieve its goal, Moscow tries to convince the world that Georgia should sign an agreement on non-use of force with its breakaway regions alone, not with Russia. Meanwhile, Georgia has unilaterally undertaken a commitment on the non-use of force and expects that Russia will take a similar step. Russia is categorically against this, considering itself not a participant in the conflict but merely a peacekeeper. No one in the world trusts this lie. It is unlikely that Russians even believe it. The government just wants to sell its lie as the truth, using the Geneva talks as a forum to do so.

Of course, under the current circumstances when Russia is ruled by same tandem Medvedev-Putin administration, no one should be so naive as to believe anything will change. They will not make any concessions while in power. This, though, may be their political collapse. It is unlikely that any Western force will put extra pressure on the Kremlin to de-occupy Georgian territories. That is why Georgia is asked by its Western allies to show strategic endurance.

Georgian representatives are trying to achieve modest goals during the Geneva negotiations: First, to attempt to create international mechanisms to secure safety in the occupied territories; Second, to demand better living conditions for IDPs and to facilitate their return to their homes; Third, to monitor and prevent human rights abuses; Fourth, to ensure the protection of Georgian cultural monuments, primarily churches. All these demands have been promoted by the Georgian side since the beginning of negotiations and have, in one form or another, been supported by the West. But so far all these requests are ignored by Russia and their puppet regimes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

This is why it is difficult to believe that any kind of breakthrough will occur in the Geneva talks this time around; the only thing we can predict for sure is that there will be a 20th round of negotiations.