The Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions (GID), Toivo Klaar, Cihan Sultanoğlu and Rudolf Michalka from the EU, the UN and OSCE, respectively, held meetings in Tbilisi, Tskhinvali, Sokhumi ahead of the 51st round of the GID scheduled to take place between October 6-7.
During the Tbilisi visit on September 15, the diplomats met with Georgian officials, including Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani. representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of the State Security Service Grigol Liluashvili.
At the meeting in Georgian Foreign Ministry, Georgian officials expressed concerns over the recently resumed “borderization” activities and arbitrary detentions across the Tskhinvali/South Ossetia dividing line, calling for the immediate release of Zaza Gakheladze, Khvicha Mghebrishvili and Genadi Bestaev, Georgian nationals currently detained by the Russian-backed Tskhinvali authorities.
The Georgian officials also called attention to the need to deliver justice for the deaths of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili, Georgians who had lost their lives owing to Russian occupation.
According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, at the meeting, they also focused on humanitarian situations in occupied Gali and Akhalgori districts in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, respectively, including restrictions on freedom of movement and discrimination against Georgians on ethnic grounds. The need for an unconditional resumption of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Gali was stressed as well, Foreign Ministry said.
In separate meetings with the GID Co-Chairs, Minister Zalkaliani took note of “Russia’s active use of hybrid warfare and misinformation campaigns targeted against Georgia and EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM),” while SSG Head Liluashvili asserted that the EUMM should get unrestricted access to the occupied territories.
On September 16 in Tskhinvali, GID Co-Chairs met with Russia-backed S. Ossetian interlocutors led by Murat Jioev. Jioev, Tskhinvali leader’s special representative on post-conflict settlement, proposed Tbilisi to begin delimitation of the “border” to tackle a number of humanitarian problems. Tskhinvali authorities further accused Tbilisi of continued policy to “discredit South Ossetia” in the eyes of the international community and slammed “revanchist statements” by some of the Georgian leaders.
In Sokhumi on September 17, the Co-Chairs held the meeting with Abkhaz interlocutors, led by “deputy foreign minister” Irakli Tuzhba. Tuzhba said their top concern on the GID agenda is to agree on a document on non-use of force.
Tuzhba voiced concerns over the military-technical cooperation between NATO and Georgia as well, calling on the Co-Chairs to pay attention to the problem in order to avoid “escalation of tension in the region”. As reported by Abkhaz media, the participants of the meeting also discussed the prospects of the resumption of IPRM in Gali, suspended since June 2018 over Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list.