U.S. Participation in the Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia (June 21)
Press Statement by the U.S. Delegation
At the fortieth round of the Geneva International Discussions on the conflict in Georgia June 20-21, the United States condemned the de facto Abkhaz authorities’ decision to drop the criminal prosecution of the suspect in the May 19, 2016, killing of Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria. The United States cautioned that this decision had the potential to undermine the GID. The United States called on the de facto Abkhaz authorities to use the evidence already in their possession, including a video tape recording of the incident, the murder weapon, and witness statements, to conclude a full investigation and ensure justice is served.
The United States also noted its objection to the closure of two controlled crossing points along the Abkhaz Administrative Boundary Line, as well as the continued placement of physical barriers and demarcation signs along both Administrative Boundary Lines, in violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The United States underscored that these actions restrict freedom of movement and jeopardize the health, safety, and welfare of local residents including children and the elderly.
The United States encouraged the parties to continue constructive negotiations aimed to achieve a mutually agreeable statement on the non-use of force during the next GID round.
The United States regrets that the two working groups were not able to complete discussion of their agendas, including a discussion of internally displaced persons, because of a walk-out in working group II. The United States urges participants to look for practical steps forward to resolve humanitarian issues, including the core issues of internally displaced persons during upcoming rounds of negotiations.
Together with Georgia, Russia, and representatives of the de facto authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the United States participates in the Geneva International Discussions, which are co-chaired by the EU, UN, and OSCE, and began in 2008 to address the consequences of the conflict in Georgia.
The United States fully supports Georgia’s territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders.