Georgia and Russia have agreed to work to resolve security incidents in
the breakaway South Ossetia region where the two countries fought a war
in August. Although the two days of talks did not produce a detailed
accord, mediators say progress was made.
Representatives attending a third round of
international talks aimed at resolving the crisis in the North Caucasus
region agree that progress has been made.
Mediated by the
United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe, the talks focused on the security and
humanitarian situation in the Caucasus.
The situation has
seriously deteriorated since Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in
August over the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and
The Special Representative of the European Union for
the Crisis in Georgia, Pierre Morel, called the talks productive. But
he said the parties failed to reach an agreement because of a couple of
He said the parties agreed on the need to
improve conditions for thousands of refugees and internally displaced
people in the region, including the delivery of humanitarian aid.
participants agreed to quickly find ways to resume gas delivery to all
affected populations," said Morel. "They also agreed to continue to
work towards resuming all multilateral rehabilitation programs in the
The head of the U.N. Observer Mission in Georgia,
Johan Verbeke, said the parties also engaged in in-depth political
"The crux of our attention went to one very
important point - that is looking at the mechanism that could help up
prevent and resolve incidents as they arise," he said. "This is not
just a technical question, it is an imminently political question.
There is an agreement among all the participants in the Geneva talks,
so-called 'international discussions,' that an agreement, in principle,
on the very fact that such a mechanism is necessary."
Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Fried noted that the talks were
occurring amid post-conflict tensions in Georgia and the region. He
said the situation on the ground is dangerous and that there is no time
to lose in reaching an agreement.
"We will continue to work to
improve the situation on the ground and to improve coordination among
the various actors on the ground," said Fried. "Despite the serious
disagreements we have with the Russian Federation over the origins of
the conflict and the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the
United States will work with Russia."
The participants said the talks are on track and they have agreed to meet again in mid-February.