U.S. Statement on the 24th Round of Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia
June 26, 2013
The United States was pleased to participate in the twenty-fourth round of the Geneva International Discussions on June 25-26. These talks provide a means of addressing security issues and humanitarian affairs in a neutral and direct forum, in order to reduce the intensity of the conflict and address the needs of the people on the ground. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Geneva Co-Chairs to facilitate progress towards these goals, and reiterate our support for the vital work of the European Union Monitoring Mission in promoting transparency and stability along the administrative boundary lines (ABLs) with the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
In Geneva, the United States joined the Co-Chairs and the Georgian participants in expressing deep concern over the accelerated installation of physical barriers along the ABLs, noting such “borderization” contradicts international law and practice, as well as the commitments made by the Russian Federation in the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement. These actions only serve to harden positions, restrict freedom of movement, and impinge on the rights of residents on both sides of the ABL to go about their daily lives, while increasing tension in the region.
We regret that some participants chose to cut short their participation in Working Group II, ending discussion on important humanitarian issues and challenging an agreed format that has endured for almost five years. The United States continues to call on all sides to focus the discussions on substance rather than format in order to make tangible improvements to the lives of those living in conflict-affected communities.
We continue to value the Geneva International Discussions and their role in addressing issues of security and stability, humanitarian concerns, and the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia, and look forward to working constructively on this agenda in coming months.