Russia breaks off 51st round of Geneva Int’l Discussions amid its redoubled occupation efforts during the pandemic

  • Russia has redoubled its occupation efforts during the pandemic, erecting barriers in several Georgian villages. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 7 Oct 2020 - 12:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Foreign Ministry reports that it is ‘concerned’ Russia has broken off the 51st round of Geneva International discussions, the only international format discussing the consequences of the Russia-Georgia 2008 war. 

The ministry said that considering the ‘aggravated security and humanitarian situation in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions’, the co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions (OSCE, EU, UN) agreed to hold the meeting on 6-7 October despite the pandemic. 

Such kind of steps undermine the entire peace process, and impede the efforts of the Georgian government and the international community to solve the problems of the conflict-affected population,” said the Georgian Foreign Ministry. 

The ministry called upon Russia to return to the negotiations and fulfil its international obligations, including the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement (on the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Georgian territory).

The ministry has also appealed to the co-chairs of the Geneva Discussions to take ‘effective measures’ to ensure the resumption of the negotiations within the Geneva format and facilitate the achievement of ‘real progress’ for the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict.

The co-chairs of the discussions have stated that the 51st round was not held ‘since not all participants were able to attend.’

We strongly believe that face-to-face meetings are critical to prevent security incidents and respond to humanitarian needs, especially at a time when there are worrying developments in the region and a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide,” said the statement released by OSCE, EU and the UN. 

The co-chairs stated that they intend to continue virtual and when possible, in-person consultations with all participants to prepare for the 51st round, ‘which has now been re-scheduled for early December 2020’.

In these consultations, we will reiterate our call on all participants to engage in constructive dialogue and to cooperate across the conflict divides, to provide safety and improve livelihoods, as part of the GID mandate,” said the statement. 

 The Geneva International Discussions were launched in October 2008 to address the consequences of the Russia-Georgia 2008.

 The format brings together the participants of the conflict -  Russia, Georgia and de facto regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, as well as the US.