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Abkhazia’s presence at Geneva debate depends on UN SecGen report

SUKHUM (Itar-Tass) -- Abkhazia’s participation in the 5th round of the Geneva consultations will depend on what the UN Secretary-General says in his report, and to what extent it reflects the realities,” Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said at a meeting with the co-presidents of the Geneva discussions on security in the Caucasus on Monday.

The EU special representatives – Pierre Morel, of the European Union, Johan Verbeke, of the United Nations, and Charapalmpos Christopoulos, of the OSCE, arrived in Abkhazia earlier on Monday on a one-day visit within the framework of preparations for the fifth round of discussions, scheduled for May 18-19.

Abkhazia insists Ban Ki-Moon’s report should contain no such terms as the “UN Observer Mission in Georgia”, or the term “Abkhazia, Georgia”.

“Our participation in the Geneva discussions will depend on the approach the United Nations takes. If it accommodates the changed situation and comes closer to the understanding of the reality, then our participation in the discussion will continue. The first sign will be in sight when the UN Secretary-General makes a report on May 15. If it meets our requests, we shall participate in the discussions,” Shamba said.

After the meeting Shamba told the media that Abkhazia saw the very instance of the Geneva discussions as a very positive factor.

“In any case, participation in diplomatic discussions in the international scene is a token of our recognition in itself. The degree to which we can demonstrate our professionalism and our wide vision of the problem, as well as the skill to negotiate and reach accord will be crucial to how the Abkhazian diplomacy and our foreign policy are rated. We understand this as a factor of international recognition, and for that reason we are interested in the participation in the Geneva process. But we shall not seek it at any cost. We have certain conditions that we have set. We have been strengthening our positions step by step,” Shamba said.

In his opinion “Abkhazia’s attitude will have to be taken into account, because otherwise the entire negotiating process and international presence in Abkhazia will be in jeopardy.”

For his part the EU’s special envoy for crisis affairs in Georgia, Pierre Morel, said he would do his utmost to ensure the fifth round of discussions proceed with all parties taking part in it.

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