OSCE should let S. Ossetia and Abkhazia have their say – Russia

Moscow insists that it is time to broaden interactive opportunities for all the parties to the Geneva talks on the Caucasus, Russia's permanent representative to the OSCE Anvar Azimov has said.

"It is time to expand the dialogue opportunities for all members of the Geneva discussions without exception," Azimov said, as quoted by Itar-Tass. "We believe that the OSCE (The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), with its all-embracing approach to security, is a convenient platform on which the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sides could communicate their positions to the other parties,” he said, speaking in Vienna at the council of the co-chairs of the Geneva talks from the EU, UN and the OSCE.

The official suggested that “It may be possible to hear regular reports by representatives from Sukhum and Tskhinval under the auspices of the current presidency in the format of informal briefings for the delegations concerned.”

Such contacts, according to Azimov, “are needed for getting ‘first hand’ information to facilitate a better understanding of the existing concerns, interactive exchanges, and joint search for compromise solutions.”

The previous – eleventh – round of Geneva talks on security and stability in the Caucasus region, following the August 2008 conflict when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, ended in a deadlock. The parties failed to come to a compromise over a treaty that would guarantee the non-use of force by Georgia against the two republics.

Speaking on Thursday, Russia’s representative to the OSCE said that the lack of progress on the issue left the Abkhaz side disappointed.

“That is the reason why Abkhazia – in a special note – stated that they believe it would not be reasonable to conduct the next round Geneva discussions scheduled for July 27,” Azimov said.

He recalled that instead of yet another meeting “Sukhum suggested using the additional time to prepare a realistic draft agreement on the non-use of force, which could be considered at the next international meeting in Geneva next autumn.”

Since the August War, Geneva has been the main venue for the conflicting sides to try to find a compromise and bring peace and stability to the region. Speaking in Vienna, Azimov confirmed Moscow’s intention to continue taking part in the multilateral dialogue.

According to Russia’s representative, the main value of the Geneva meetings is their status.

“Currently it is the only format where representatives of the Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia, and also Russia, the US, the UN, the EU and the OSCE are involved on an equal basis," Azimov said.