Russians, Georgians meet in 'good, business-like' atmosphere

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russians and Georgians agreed Tuesday to meet again in December after holding a "real dialogue" aimed at preventing future flare-ups in the region.

"A real dialogue was held. We exchanged ideas on several subjects including the non-use of force, confidence measures," EU mediator Philippe Lefort said following the meeting.

"Despite the difficult agenda there is a commitment by all participants to continue with the discussions," added Antti Turunen, the UN mediator for the discussions.

"The atmosphere today was very good and business-like, there is some hope for future more productive discussions," he said.

Tuesday's talks were an improvement from a previous session in June when participants determined that there were risks of a dangerous escalation on the ground.

Tbilisi had also threatened to walk away from future discussions if Moscow failed to halt its "terror campaign."

But since then, the "general situation has been calm and stable," said mediators in a statement.

In addition, the good atmosphere of Tuesday's meeting "provides an opportunity to building trust and confidence among participants," observed Turunen.

Nevertheless, Georgia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze observed that the round of discussions ended "without progress."

The 17th round of talks since 2008 are mediated by the European Union, the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and are meant to prevent another flare-up in violence over the two breakaway Georgian regions.

Russia recognised the two rebel regions as independent after the brief 2008 war between Moscow and Tbilisi, a move condemned by Georgia's Western allies and only followed by a handful of other states.

© 2011 AFP

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