The 53rd session of the International Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasus was held in Geneva on June 29-30, 2021. Representatives from Abkhazia, Georgia. Russia, South Ossetia and the U.S. attended, as did officials of the United Nations, European Union and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Why the U.S. participates in security talks affecting the South Caucasus is unclear, but it appears it is there as the protector of its Georgian client state.
The South Ossetian and Abkhazian delegations lobbied for the forum to adopt a document urging Georgia to commit to the non-use of force against its neighbors. Georgia, backed to the hilt by the U.S. and NATO, insists that Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are recognized by Russia as independent states and which hosts Russians troops and bases, are occupied territories – occupied by Russia.
The South Ossetian delegation included Murat Dzhioev, his nation’s Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy for post-conflict settlement. In a press release issued by his office, the meeting was partially summarized in this fashion:
“The work took place in two working groups: on security and humanitarian issues. In the working group on security in accordance with the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreements, the main attention was paid to ensuring guarantees of the non-resumption of Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in particular, consultations were continued on the preparation of a legally binding document on the refusal to use force or the threat of force, which has international guarantees.
The document goes on to say:
“During the discussion of security issues, the delegation of the Republic of South Ossetia drew the most serious attention of the rest of the participants to the situation in the border areas as a result of the deployment of a fortified post of the Georgian police on the territory of South Ossetia near the village of Uista (Tsnelis). It was noted that the provocative actions of the Georgian side are perceived as a deliberate escalation of tensions and have an extremely negative effect on the possibility of maintaining and strengthening a stable and secure situation along the entire perimeter of the South Ossetian state border.”
Considering matters pertaining to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, such as the 2008 U.S.-supported invasion of South Ossetia and subsequent war with Russia, to be strictly Georgia’s internal affairs as both Georgia and the U.S. do, Georgia was refractory to the appeal.
The South Ossetian government press agency said of the report that “representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia expressed serious concern over the new steps towards Georgia’s integration into NATO and the creation of infrastructure facilities of the North Atlantic Alliance on the territory of Georgia.”
As well they should have done. Georgia is a regular hub for visits and exercises by NATO and U.S. officials and military forces. The small country hosts a NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, Defence Institution Building School, the Sachkhere Mountain Training School and several other military sites and facilities. The Georgian Defense Ministry just hosted the NATO Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai. The two discussed “NATO’s active involvement in strengthening the Black Sea.”
The above-cited release also stated: “The intensification of Georgia’s interaction with NATO cannot but cause concern against the background of the stubborn reluctance of the Georgian authorities to take on commitments not to use force against the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia’s continuing claims to their sovereign territories. The South Ossetian party pointed to the ongoing sabotage of the investigation of the cases of enforced disappearance of Ossetians by the Georgian authorities and called on international mediators to put pressure on Georgia.”
The Abkhazian account of what transpired at the meeting is similar. Its press reported the same concern about NATO’s role in preventing a peaceful resolution of disputes in the region by its intransigent support, especially military support, of Georgia. An Akhazian report states, citing the Russian Defense Ministry:
“[R]epresentatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Russia have again expressed their growing concern in connection with increasing activity of NATO in Georgia. It was noted that such actions are capable of undermining multilateral efforts to long-term stabilization of situation in the region.”
As previously indicated, a concerted, integrated attack by NATO-backed regimes, perhaps with direct NATO involvement, may be launched simultaneously or in rapid succession against several disputed and smaller territories in the former Soviet Union, including Abkhazia, Belarus, the Donbass, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Transdniester and even Crimea.
All indications are pointing in that most ominous direction.