Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council
Vienna, April 3, 2014

The United States participated in the 27th round of the Geneva International Discussions on the conflict in Georgia on March 25 and 26.  We welcomed the Swiss Chairmanship’s positive contribution in its role as the newest co-chair of these Discussions, alongside the United Nations and the European Union. While substantive differences remained on several of the core issues, we were pleased with the constructive atmosphere and respectful dialogue that prevailed in both working groups.

Along with the work of the EU Monitoring Mission and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs), the Geneva discussions contribute to regional stability and demonstrate the importance of dialogue and communication in conflict resolution.

We continue to urge Russia to engage in further dialogue that will bring Russia closer to Georgia in making a legally binding commitment to the non-use of force, to the resumption of the Gali IPRM, and to facilitate freedom of movement across the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs). We expressed our deep concern over the renewed construction of fences and berms along the ABLs, and noted again that the EU Monitoring Mission and humanitarian organizations should be granted unrestricted access on both sides of the ABLs. We were disappointed that the Abkhaz participants left early, before discussions on humanitarian issues could be completed.

The United States reiterates our firm commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We are ready to continue working with all participants to chart a constructive path forward to improve security on the ground and address the humanitarian needs of those living in areas affected by the conflict.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.