Inal Ardzinba, the “foreign minister” of occupied Abkhazia, stated on July 13 that the Geneva International Discussions (GID) should be moved to “another, less biased place and city, where there will be great opportunities and working conditions for all parties in the negotiation process,” reported Sokhumi based Apsnypress.
Ardzinba made the statement after meeting Mikhail Shurgalin, who made the first visit to the occupied territory since his appointment as Russian envoy. Ardzinba said GID talks are on hold “not on our initiative or the initiative of Russia, but on the initiative of Western countries and Georgia.”
Prior to making the statement on GID, Ardzinba had congratulated Shurgalin and commended his “extensive experience in the Russian Foreign Ministry.” He expressed hope regarding bilateral work on “national security, the strengthening of the state sovereignty of Abkhazia, and socio-economic development.”
The news comes several weeks after Moscow raised the same issue following Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko meeting with the GID Co-Chairs on June 20. The Russian Foreign Ministry said at the time that the talks should be moved from Geneva to a “more neutral place acceptable to all participants.”
Responding to Civil.ge about similar Russian accusations in the past, EUSR Toivo Klaar said “the decision to postpone the recent round was taken in order to protect the process and to avoid a situation where the international environment, in particular the war in Ukraine, would negatively affect the proceedings of the round itself and thereby of the GID as a whole.”
The 56th round of GID, originally slated for March, were cancelled amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the closure of much of the European skies for Russia.
GID is the multilateral forum to address security and humanitarian consequences of the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008.