U.S. Participation in the Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia
Press Statement by the U.S. Delegation
Geneva, October 9, 2019
At the forty-ninth round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) on the conflict in Georgia, the U.S. delegation expressed concern over the recent escalation of tensions along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with South Ossetia. The United States took positive note of the robust use of technical meetings of the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) to reduce tensions, and encouraged all participants to continue to make full use of the IPRM format to discuss and resolve issues of concern. The U.S. delegation once again called for the restart of regular meetings of the Gali IPRM as soon as possible.
The U.S. delegation welcomed the GID Co-Chairs’ efforts to deepen discussion on core GID issues. The U.S. delegation expressed appreciation for the Co-Chairs’ organization of the information session on public health issues which hopefully will promote a broader discussion. The United States looks forward to future information sessions on core GID issues and related issues of interest to the participants.
The U.S. delegation welcomed news that the Enguri Bridge crossing point on the ABL with Abkhazia had recently reopened and encouraged de facto authorities to open additional crossing points. The U.S. delegation expressed disappointment at the closure in September of most crossing points on the ABL with South Ossetia, and called on those responsible to reopen crossing points as soon as possible to facilitate freedom of movement for the affected populations.
The United States welcomed the September 26 meeting of the Georgian and Russian foreign ministers, and expressed hope that renewed dialogue will enable them to make progress on issues of bilateral concern.
The U.S. delegation once again called on the de facto authorities to provide full access to international humanitarian organizations. The U.S. delegation also called on participants to improve transparency and stability by allowing the European Union Monitoring Mission to operate on both sides of the ABLs in accordance with its mandate.
The U.S. delegation called for full sharing of information between Georgian and Russian authorities as soon as possible on the death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia. The United States reiterated its call for those responsible to provide a full account of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli, and emphasized the need for all participants to aid in the investigation of the fate of missing persons regardless of the circumstances.
The United States regrets that the participants from the Russian Federation and de facto authorities in Working Group II once again refused to engage in discussion of internally displaced persons and chose instead to walk out, thereby precluding discussion of the remainder of the agenda of Working Group II.
The United States fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.