EU Statement on the 61st round of the Geneva International Discussions

As delivered at the 1480th Permanent Council, 4 July 2024

  1. The European Union welcomes the 61st round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID), held in Switzerland on 25-26 June 2024. We wish to thank the GID Co-Chairs for their consistent efforts to keep this format operational.

  2. As mandated by the six-point Agreement of 12 August 2008 and the implementing measures of 8 September 2008, the GID process continues to serve as the only platform where the consequences of the conflict, including issues related to the implementation of the six-point Agreement and its implementing measures, are addressed.

  3. We regret that the discussion on core issues did not bring any results. Moreover, we continue to believe that a clear non-use of force statement by Russia, together with the establishment of a verification mechanism, are essential for enhancing security, helping to build confidence and providing space for further political dialogue.

  4. We take positive note that, despite challenging discussions, participants in Working Group 2 managed to address several humanitarian issues, such as crossings, documentation, detentions, missing persons and health. At the same time, we regret that discussion on IDPs and refugees was again not possible due to the walkout by the Russian, Abkhaz and South Ossetian participants from this meeting. This practice has a damaging effect on the GID. It must stop.

  5. The European Union expresses its concern with regard to the severe and lasting impact this conflict has on the overall security situation in Georgia and the wider region, as well as on the well-being of the conflict-affected populations. The EU condemns the continued illegal Russian military presence and activities in Georgia. We are also concerned about Russia’s attempts to de-facto integrate Georgia’s occupied breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Russia’s regulatory and security space, as well as ongoing “borderisation” activities, the restrictions on the movement of civilians across the administrative boundary lines and the arbitrary detention of Georgian citizens. The EU considers the Russian presidential election polling stations opened in the occupied breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia without the consent of the Georgian Government illegal. We also do not recognise the constitutional and legal framework in which the so-called parliamentary elections took place in Georgia’s occupied breakaway region of South Ossetia on 9th

  6. The EU reiterates its call to enable immediate and unimpeded access to Georgia’s occupied breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia for international and regional human rights mechanisms to fully implement their mandates. We are seriously concerned about the enduring human rights violations committed therein, as reported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and we echo his calls for accountability.

  7. The EU calls on Russia, as a party to this conflict, to recommit itself to respecting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and to fulfil its obligations under the agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008 in full and without further delay. The EU also urges Russia to ensure the proper follow-up of the landmark judgement of 21 January 2021 of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Georgia v. Russia.

  8. The EU notes positively that the 118th and 119th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings took place in Ergneti on 20th March and 16th May respectively, and expresses its hope for a fruitful next meeting, planned for 23rd The EU once again calls for the earliest possible resumption of the IPRM in Gali, which should be held in accordance with established practice and without any preconditions.

  9. The EU, as a Co-Chair, remains committed to active involvement in the Geneva International Discussions. The EU’s commitment to Georgia’s security is also proven through the continued activities of the EUMM – the only legitimate international presence on the ground.

  10. The EU remains unwavering in its support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The EU also remains firm in the condemnation in the strongest possible terms of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustifiable and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, which is yet another clear example of Russia’s blatant disregard for international law, including the UN Charter, as well as OSCE principles and commitments.

  11. The EU looks forward to the next GID meeting, which it has been agreed will take place before the end of this year.