On the 4th the XV Session of the Geneva International Discussions (GD) took place, on the 5th President Medvedev dedicated the whole day to two guests who are not guesting each other… President Sargsyan and President Aliev.
In Geneva, Giedrius Čekuolis is the newly arrived co-Chair, representing OSCE now that Lithuania took over OSCE chairmanship from Kazakhstan. GD location and format are stable from more than two years, which can already be assessed as a success. The date for the next session is June, 7.
While in Geneva conflict solution (working group 1) and humanitarian issues (working group 2) are addressed, the grassroots problems, trans-administrative lines incidents find their proper fora in the IPRMs, the Incidents Prevention ans Response Mechanisms. Now that both IPRMs – in Gali and Ergneti – work, with the Ergneti one having resumed its activities after a long pause of more than one year, the GD can focus fully on the political aspects, just reviewing periodically the situation on the ground.
This division of work between GD and its own creatures, IPRMs, is well mirrored in the lines of the official press communiqué issued last Friday by the GD Co-Chairmanship:
“In Working Group I, the participants reviewed the security situation on the ground, which remains relatively calm. They continued their discussions on the key issues of non-use of force and international security arrangements and on best practices and cooperation, in particular in the field of confidence-building.
In Working Group II, participants reviewed the issues related to the humanitarian situation, including the supply of water and gas, the facilitation of returns and other durable solutions, and property-related issues. Participants also took part in an information session dedicated to the “end of displacement”. "
This is exactly what is missing on the NK front line: a properly working IPRM. This is felt, needed, even evoked, somehow, in the joined statement of the three Presidents after their meeting in Sochi:
“After the discussions on the practical implementation of the trilateral Declaration adopted on October 27, 2010 in Astrakhan, in addition to the steps specified in the above mentioned Declaration, the Presidents agreed to take the following confidence building measures:
1. To conclude in the shortest possible period of time the exchange of the prisoners of war,
2. To strive to solve all contentious issues through peaceful means and to conduct along the cease-fire line an investigation with the participation of the parties under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and with the assistance of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office regarding probable incidents.” (http://president.am/events/news/eng/?id=1466)
A hot line plus quick reaction teams with a mixed staff with an investigative/facilitating mandate, able to cross the cease fire line, plus a regular IPRM, would relieve the tripartite meetings (the last was the eighth one) from dealing with day-to-day minor violations and would allow the meeting, held at presidential level, to concentrate on the political settlement of the conflict. It is itself an extremely tough task.
A clear message was delivered by Russia with the choice of the location of the meeting: Sochi. Plus, during the day, the party was involved in skiing, enjoying the Sochi tourist resort. So, it sounds clear and in bold letters that the huge investment over there mustn’t be shadowed by wars around…
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