European Union (EU)
Press release on South Caucasus security and stability consultations
On October 8−9, Geneva hosted the 49th round of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus, which was attended by representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia, the Republic of South Ossetia, the Russian Federation and the United States. The event was co-chaired by the EU, the UN and the OSCE. The Russian delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko.
The participants focused on the growing tension in the area of Tsnelis on the Georgian-South Ossetian border, which was provoked by Georgia deciding, in late August 2019, to deploy a Georgian police post in the direct vicinity of said village. This forced Tskhinval to retaliate by building a blockpost of its own and temporarily closing its border with Georgia.
Russia set forth its approach to settling the crisis and called on the sides to exercise restraint and take steps towards de-escalation by using direct dialogue as part of the existing negotiating mechanisms. This position found an understanding and support among the participants in the Geneva discussions.
Russia, as well as South Ossetia and Abkhazia emphasised the importance of continued efforts to coordinate the statements made by the participants in the Geneva discussions on the non-use of force in order to promote stability and security in the South Caucasus.
Russia highlighted the unending attempts to pull Georgia into NATO, the ongoing militarisation of this South Caucasus country, and NATO’s regular military exercises on its territory. Jointly with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia regards these processes as something that undermines regional security.
All participants in the meeting, apart from the Georgian delegation, acknowledged that the situation on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian borders with Georgia, with the exception of the Tsnelis area and a number of other problem spots, was on the whole stable. Abkhazia reported on the lifting of temporary border crossing restrictions that had been imposed against Georgia for security reasons.
All participants in the 49th round unanimously spoke in favour of steps to facilitate the solution of existing humanitarian problems, including by simplifying the border crossing regime, easing contacts between people, and searching for missing persons.
An agreement was reached to hold the next round of the Geneva discussions in December 2019.