U.S. Participation in the Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia
Geneva, December 12, 2020
During the December 10-11 fifty-first round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) on the conflict in Georgia, the U.S. delegation thanked the GID Co-Chairs for enabling participants to resume in person dialogue on core GID issues despite the global public health crisis.
The United States took positive note of incidents of cooperation between GID participants over the past nine months to save lives and mitigate the social and economic effects of COVID-19. The U.S. delegation specifically welcomed the opening of humanitarian corridors along the Abkhazia administrative boundary line (ABL), which had enabled access to life-saving allowances, medicine, and medical treatment. The U.S. delegation expressed regret that public health cooperation was not established earlier and more extensively throughout the territory of Georgia, noting that such cooperation could have saved additional lives. The United States reaffirmed its commitment to working with GID participants to alleviate suffering caused by the pandemic and encouraged all participants to deepen cooperation in this critical area.
The United States expressed deep regret at the unnecessary humanitarian suffering caused by the closure since September 2019 of many ABL crossing points as well as the ongoing detention of Georgian citizens by de facto authorities. The United States also expressed disappointment at the increased construction of fences and other barriers along both ABLs despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States welcomed the unilateral commitment Georgia made in 2010 not to use force to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity, which followed the specific non-use of force (NUF) commitments undertaken in 2008 under the EU-mediated six-point ceasefire agreement. The United States emphasized any further NUF discussions should focus on practical implementation measures, including enhanced international security arrangements throughout the internationally-recognized territory of Georgia.
The United States expressed deep concern regarding the destabilizing effects of Russian military activities taking place on sovereign Georgian territory with active participation from de facto authorities in Russian-occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as part of Russia’s annual large scale military exercise in the region.
The U.S. delegation took positive note of the resumption of the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) as a sign of commitment to resolving disagreements through dialogue. The United States hoped for the resumption in the near future of the Gali IPRM. The U.S.delegation emphasized the importance of fully utilizing existing formats, in particular the GID and the IPRMs, to address disagreements and defuse tensions.
The United States expressed concern over reports of a new “socio-economic program” between the Russian Federation and de facto authorities in Abkhazia, in particular measures that appear likely to promote Russian economic capture of the occupied region and advance incorporation of occupied Abkhazia into Russian governance structures.
The United States expressed its support and appreciation for the efforts of the GID Co-Chairs to improve practical cooperation on issues relevant to the GID participants, including through organization of information sessions on topics of mutual interest.
The United States fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.