Statement by Matthew J. Bryza
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Head of the U.S. Delegation, Geneva Process on Georgia
The sixth round of talks in the Geneva Process on Georgia and the regulation of its separatist conflicts convened today (July 1). Nearly all participants conducted today’s discussion in a constructive spirit, seeking to increase stability and human welfare without forcing pronouncements on the political status of Georgia’s separatist regions.
Agreement was reached to convene the first meeting in Abkhazia of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism on July 14, 2009 in Gali. This mechanism aims to reduce tension, increase military transparency, and deter violations of law and human rights.
Unfortunately, participants from South Ossetia refused to agree to convene another session of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in South Ossetia, and demanded as a precondition that Georgia recognize the independence of South Ossetia. Convening this mechanism to reduce military tension is of particular importance as Russia embarks on Kavkaz, the largest military exercise ever conducted by Russia in the North Caucasus.
The parties did agree to explore a comprehensive plan to address humanitarian and security concerns of the populations displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including in areas from which Russia committed to withdraw its troops in the August 12 cease fire agreement but has failed to do so.
We call on all parties to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as outlined in the August 12 cease fire agreement between Russian and Georgia and in UN Security Council Resolution 1866.
The United States urges all parties to focus on ways to address the serious humanitarian difficulties confronting populations displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the basis of status-neutral proposals. We regret that Russia was unable to join the overwhelming consensus supporting status neutral proposals to extend the mandates of the UN and OSCE monitoring missions in Georgia. The United States, Russia, and Georgia all expressed support for the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia.