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Now de facto Tskhinvali wants to delay talks too

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, July 13
Following the example of the de facto Abkhazian administration, so-called South Ossetian officials also declared their intention to “delay” the Geneva talks on Monday. Boris Chochiev, Special Representative of the de facto South Ossetian President in Post Conflict Regulation issues, informed the Geneva talks Co-Chairs, who were visiting Tskhinvali on July 12, of the position of the de facto Tskhinvali authorities.

“There are two important factors for us: security and IDP issues. In the project presented to us none of our proposals had been taken into account,” Chochiev said at the meeting with the EU’s Pierre Morel, OSCE’s Bolat Nurgaliyev and UN’s Antti Turunen. “The previous 11th round of Geneva discussions brought some unfavourable outcomes for us. Our future attitude depends on what kind of proposals you have now. We are determined to work on fulfilling those obligations specified in the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement,” Chochiev told the Co-Chairs according to the Osinform news agency.

The de facto Special Representative reiterated Tskhinvali’s position on the “necessity” of a non-use of force document being signed between Tbilisi and its breakaway regions. “I would like to know the attitude of the Geneva Co-Chairs to the statement of US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon that there is no need to sign or work out any new documents on the non-use of force as they are already part of the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement. We believe it is necessary for Georgia to sign a document about non-use of force against South Ossetia,” Chochiev noted.

The EU’s Pierre Morel told the de facto officials that two years after the August war is not the “right moment for pause,” Osinform reported. “It is a moment for strengthening our actions,” Morel said. There were “uneasy” moments at the previous round of Geneva talks, the EU official said. “However this is not the first time this has happened. We have had some quite serious and difficult moments during the discussions. As for the statements of Mr. Gordon, he has made similar statements earlier. We cannot restrict anyone from expressing their own opinions,” Osinform quoted Morel as saying. Morel suggested that problematic issues should be addressed right away. “Signing a non-use of force document is a controversial issue, however we cannot neglect it,” he added.

In his address to the de facto Parliament so-called Abkhazian leader Sergey Baghapsh also announced Sukhumi’s plans to “take a pause” in the Geneva talks. Tbilisi is “avoiding” discussing a document on the non-use of force and keeps insisting on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Baghapsh said. “The Georgian side wants to deploy international forces there, which of course is unacceptable for us. Moreover, we strongly believe that the international mediators of the Geneva talks are taking the side of Tbilisi. So until the situation changes, we will not be able to participate in the negotiations,” the de facto leader noted, adding that signing a non-use of force document would “eliminate the threats of a new conflict with Georgia.” Baghapsh noted however that Abkhazia has no “other channels” rather than the Geneva talks [with which to directly connect with international organisations]. “So we have taken a pause in order to give the mediators some time to prepare specific, well-thought out proposals,” he said

The 12th round of Geneva talks is scheduled to take place on July 27.