Russia-Georgia postwar talks derail
GENEVA - Peace talks aimed at healing rifts from the Russia-Georgia war broke down yesterday when the delegations from Russia and Georgia's two separatist provinces refused to take part, mediators said.
The round of talks scheduled for yesterday and today was supposed to be the first meeting since February between Georgia, Russia, and Russia's allies from the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The mediators said the Abkhazian delegation refused to attend. The South Ossetians came for the beginning, then walked out, followed by the Russians.
"This was all the more regrettable as today's discussions were precisely meant to offer an opportunity to listen to the views of all participants on all security-related and humanitarian questions," said the mediators' statement.
The talks have been held periodically since October.
The mediators urged all parties to attend the talks today.
"The Geneva Discussions provide the only forum where all participants can engage with one another on the key issues of security and stability as well as humanitarian questions," the mediators said.
Russia's deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, said, "We can't discuss the issue of security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia without the Abkhazians and South Ossetians."
Karasin said he hoped talks would resume today.