Temur Iakobashvili, the chief Georgian negotiator and state minister for reintegration, said on August 7 that Russia would further undermine its role as mediator and peacekeeper if it failed to convince the South Ossetian side to talk.
A meeting between Georgian and South Ossetian negotiators in Tskhinvali had initially been planned for August 7. Yuri Popov, the chief Russian negotiator over the South Ossetian conflict, was to have attended. Tskhinvali, however, said it would only attend a meeting in the frames of the quadripartite Joint Control Commission (JCC) with the involvement of a representative from Russia’s North Ossetian Republic.
Speaking at a news conference on August 7, Iakobashvili said that Russia should take responsibility for recent tensions, because the secessionist authorities were being supplied with arms and ammunition from Russia.
Popov, now in Tbilisi, said earlier on August 7 that he doubted that the meeting would take place following Tskhinvali’s public refusal to attend.
But when asked later on the same day whether the meeting would take place, Popov responded: “We are working on this matter.”
Iakobashvili also said on August 7 that South Ossetian militiamen were using, as he put it, “a new method” of attacking Georgian villages.
“They open fire from hospitals and schools in order to provoke us into returning fire in the direction of their schools and hospitals, and then accuse us of barbaric acts,” he said. “The international community should be seriously concerned over this.”