An agreement about the non-use of force has again surfaced in discussions between Georgia, Russia and delegations from the Moscow-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And, once again, it has become cause for deadlock.
At the July 1 session in Geneva, Russian envoys requested European and American mediators to coax Georgia into signing such an agreement, Regnum news agency reported. A draft, penned by de facto South Ossetian officials, has been presented to international mediators, RIA news agency reported. The Russian foreign ministry on June 30 warned that fresh hostilities with Georgia could break out unless such an agreement is signed.
The proposal, however, is nothing new. Prior to the August 8-12 war between Russia and Georgia, Moscow, Abkhazia and South Ossetia also called for Tbilisi to sign such an agreemeent. Georgian officials at the time questioned Russia's ability to act as a non-aligned guarantor of the agreement's terms.
With Russia's recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and its introduction of Russian troops in both disputed territories, Georgian doubts about Moscow's intentions have only intensified. Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria told reporters on June 30 that Georgia will only sign such an agreement if Moscow confirms in writing that Russian forces will withdraw from the two territories.