EU Statement on the 58th round of the Geneva International Discussions

OSCE Permanent Council No. 1434. Vienna, 20 July 2023.

The European Union welcomes the 58th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) that was held in Switzerland on 11-12 July 2023. We wish to thank the GID Co-Chairs for their consistent efforts in keeping this format operational.

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. This includes discussions on core issues, such as the non-use of force and international security arrangements, as well as internally displaced persons and refugees.

While the discussion on the non-use of force and international security arrangements did not bring any results, we encourage further efforts in this direction and continue to believe that a clear non-use of force statement by Russia, together with the establishment of a verification mechanism, are essential to enhance security, help build confidence and provide space for further political dialogue.

We regret that discussion on IDPs and refugees in Working Group 2 on humanitarian issues 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 should be stopped.

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 remains concerned about the continued illegal Russian military presence and activities in Georgia. We are also concerned about Russia’s attempts to de-facto integrate Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Russia’s regulatory and security space, as well as the ongoing “borderisation” activities, the restrictions on the movement of civilians across the administrative boundary lines and the arbitrary detentions of Georgian citizens.

The EU reiterates its call to enable immediate and unimpeded access to Georgia’s 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 lasting human rights violations committed therein, as reported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and we echo his calls for accountability.

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 vs Russia.

The EU notes positively that the 112th and 113th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings took place in Ergneti on 27 April and 3 July respectively, and expresses its hope for a fruitful next meeting, planned for 12 September. The EU once again calls for the earliest possible resumption of the IPRM in Gali, which should be held in accordance with the established practices and without any preconditions.

Since October 2008, the EU has been actively involved in conflict resolution efforts and served as Co-Chair together with the UN and OSCE. The EU, as a Co-Chair, remains committed to its 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.

The EU remains unwavering in its support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. 11. The EU looks forward to the next GID meeting, which it has been agreed will take place in December 2023.

The Candidate Countries TÜRKIYE, NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, and BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA*, and the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as ANDORRA, and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.

* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.