Georgia 'disappointed' after Geneva talks with Russia

12th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

Georgia expressed disappointment Wednesday after its latest round of UN-mediated talks with Russia, blaming Moscow for blocking discussions on people displaced during the countries' brief war in 2008.

"I have to say we are deeply disappointed that our counterparts did not approach this meeting in good faith," Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze told reporters in Geneva.

He was speaking at the end of the 22nd round of talks aimed at easing tensions between the two countries since their 2008 war over two breakaway Georgian provinces.

The discussions, jointly mediated by the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe, are aimed at addressing both the security and humanitarian situations in the separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

As with previous rounds, the mediators did not report any major advances during the two days of talks, although EU representative Philippe Lefort told reporters that talks on the key issue of non-use of force had been "very productive".

Vashakidze, who headed a brand new Georgian delegation -- representing billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition government, elected in October -- acknowledged that some progress had been made on that issue.

The Russian delegation, which was not available for comment after the talks, had however shown no interest in discussing Georgia's "pragmatic proposals" on how to solve a number of humanitarian issues, including the return of people displaced by the conflict, Vashakidze said.

He also criticised the Russians for refusing to discuss the issue of "gas supply to certain regions of the occupied territories".

"They refused to discuss it," he said, adding: "Of course we will need some further explanations on this."

The next round of Geneva talks has been set for March 26-27.

© 2012 AFP

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