Statement on Round XX of the Geneva Discussions on Georgia

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
June 14, 2012

The United States was pleased to participate in the June 8 round of the Geneva Discussions. These discussions have the potential to serve as an important forum for improving security and humanitarian conditions in Georgia.

We are concerned about the increase in security incidents and that meetings of the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) have been postponed.  In addition, commitments made by the Russian Federation under the August 2008 ceasefire agreement and its September 2008 implementing measures, including the commitment to withdraw forces to positions held prior to the start of hostilities, have yet to be fulfilled.

The United States urges Russia to reciprocate Georgia’s unilateral pledge not to use force, and to authorize unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia.  The United States also calls for full respect of all individuals’ human rights in the conflict areas, and for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of internally displaced persons.

The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia is a crucial stabilizing factor, and plays a central role in the implementation of the IPRMs and the monitoring of compliance with the cease-fire and implementing measures.  Regrettably, these efforts cannot be fully realized as long as Russia continues to deny international observers access to the territories of Georgia.

The United States remains committed to helping Georgia and Russia find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Georgia, and we look forward to the next round of the Geneva Discussions scheduled for October 3, 2012. The regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are integral parts of Georgia, and we reiterate our strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Thank you, Madame Chairwoman.