U.S. Participation in the Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia (December 13)
Press Statement by the U.S. Delegation
At the forty-second round of the Geneva International Discussions on the conflict in Georgia December 12-13, participants made progress toward agreement on a non-use of force statement. The United States welcomed the participants’ commitment to returning to work on this important agenda item during the next Geneva round. The United States also welcomed the recent release of detainees as an important step which we hope will lead to further progress in resolving humanitarian cases.
The United States expressed concerns over increasing restrictions that are limiting access in Abkhazia. The United States called for the reopening of two controlled crossing points along the Abkhaz Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) and the rescission of a policy restricting the rights of ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia. The United States also condemned the continued placement of physical barriers and demarcation signs along both ABLs. These actions restrict freedom of movement and jeopardize the health, safety, and welfare of local residents. The United States also noted that the reported recent demolition of houses belonging to Georgian Internally Displaced Persons in the Eredvi village of South Ossetia is not acceptable by any international norms and underscored our continued recognition of Georgian IDPs’ rights to return to their homes in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The United States regrets that participants were not able to complete discussions across the full GID agenda, including a discussion of internally displaced persons, because of a walk-out in Working Group II. The United States urges participants to address agreements diplomatically and to look for practical steps forward to resolve humanitarian issues, including the core issues of IDPs, refugees, and returns 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.