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Refugee Minister Says Geneva Discussions are Ineffective

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 13
The Georgian Minister of Refugees Sozar Subari claims that the current format of the Geneva International Discussions, the only format of international dialogue between Georgia and Russia, is ineffective and needs to be changed.

Subari claims that the Geneva Discussions should take place with the involvement of high-level politicians.

At the end of the last year Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili expressed his readiness to enhance the level of Geneva discussions and personally get involved in the talks.

A member of the European Georgia opposition, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Sergi Kapanadze stated that if any representative of the government says the Geneva format is ineffective, this means that the government does not know anything about the format.

"Therefore, the assessment that this format is ineffective is simply wrong and I am not surprised that a government member makes such statements. As for the rise of the level, it is of course possible. No problem,” said Kapanadze

Political analyst Korneli Kakachia believes that any change in the format now is “unprepared and is not based on a strategy or a new approach.”

Kakachia says that the involvement of top officials in any talks will not provide outcomes if the sides involved are not eager to reach a consensus.

The expert says that there are no signals that Russia is ready to make some changes in its policy to Georgia’s occupied regions.

Since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, the Geneva International Discussions has been the only format of dialogue between Georgia and Russia.

It is chaired by the OSCE, the EU and the UN. Representatives from Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Sokhumi, as well as Moscow and Washington take part in the discussions.

According to the August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, issues including non-use of force, creation of international security arrangements in breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region and the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees are essential subjects of discussion.

The six-point ceasefire agreement that both Georgia and Russia signed after the five-day August 2008 war demands the withdrawal of Russian military forces from Georgian territory to create conditions for the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

As of today, only four countries recognize Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent republics: Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.