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12th round of Transcaucasia security negotiations begins in Geneva

GENEVA, July 27 (Itar-Tass) -- The 12th round of consultations on security and stability in the Transcaucasia began here on Tuesday. The delegations from the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the United States and the Republic of South Ossetia are participating in the consultations, which are held under the auspices of the UN, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The consultations are being held in two working groups – on security and humanitarian issues.

Deputy director of the CIS department in the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexei Dvinyatin, who heads the Russian delegation, told Itar-Tass on the eve of the 12th round of consultations that Russia will place emphasis at the consultations on continued drafting of a document on the non-use of force by Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The participants in the consultations “are also going to discuss the current security situation on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Georgia, including the review of joint measures to prevent and react to the incidents in the border regions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

The current round of consultations turned out to be under the threat of failure after Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh stated Sukhum suspends its participation in the 12th round of consultations so that the mediators could make concrete, thought-out proposals. His position was partially caused by the results of the previous 11th round in early June. Then the delegations from South Ossetia and Abkhazia left the session hall, because their position had not been taken into account.

Sukhum eventually decided not to disrupt the negotiations, but lowered the level of the country’s representation, as the former deputy defence minister Gari Kupalba arrived in Geneva instead of Abkhazian presidential adviser for international affairs Vyacheslav Chirikba. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin will also not participate in this round of negotiations. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, who heads the U.S. delegation, did not also arrive in Geneva.

The consultations on security and stability in the Transcaucasia are held since October 2008 under the agreements, which the presidents of Russia and France reached after the tragic events in South Ossetia in August 2008.

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