Co-Chairs of Geneva International Discussions address OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna
VIENNA, 1 November 2012 – The Geneva International Discussions are the only process to resolve the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia with participation of all stakeholders, said Pádraig Murphy, the OSCE Chairmanship’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus, in his address today to the representatives of OSCE participating States in Vienna.
Murphy co-chairs the Geneva Discussions together with Ambassador Antti Turunen of the UN and Ambassador Philippe Lefort of the EU. The three addressed a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council today.
Murphy focused on the security situation and OSCE activities on the ground, including those related to water projects and missing persons, as well as on the issue of the re-establishment of an OSCE presence.
“Despite the absence of an OSCE mission on the ground, the OSCE remains actively engaged,” he said, adding that the OSCE can be flexible and find modalities to engage with all relevant stakeholders. “The OSCE’s contribution to both the Geneva discussions and to the work of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism would be significantly upgraded if an OSCE support team, inspired by a UN model, were to be agreed by the relevant actors,” underlined Murphy.
Under the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRM) established as a result of the Geneva Discussions, security issues and practical activities on the ground, such as security of farmers, exchange of detainees, and water supply projects for the people in affected territories, are discussed.
Antti Turunen of the UN in his address specifically stressed the importance of the mechanisms: “We have urged and continue urging all participants to maintain the agreed procedures and mechanisms pertaining to the Geneva Discussions, including the full functioning of both IPRMs.”
“Regrettably, to date no consensus has been achieved and the Gali IPRM has remained suspended,” he said, adding that he would continue his engagement until a joint solution is found and the IPRM meetings are resumed.
Turunen emphasised the “constructive, productive and exemplary cooperation between the UN, OSCE and EU in co-chairing the Geneva Discussions”, and stressed the importance of continuing this joint work.
The EU Special Representative Philippe Lefort in his address focused on security and stability on the ground.
“The non-use of force and international security arrangements have been at the heart of our discussions for a long time, but given the sensitivity of the subject, progress has been difficult,” he said, adding that they would continue “seeking creative solutions in order to attract the participants into a system of commitments that would lead to an improved security situation on the ground”.
He commended a “constructive spirit” by participants who have come forward with proposals on a draft statement by participants on the non-use of force, which, despite differences in positions, made it possible to hold a first drafting session at expert level, on a compromise proposal by the co-chairs.
“Commitment by all participants is essential for progress, and we are determined to pursue our efforts in order to reach an outcome that is satisfactory for all stakeholders,” Lefort underlined.
The Permanent Council is one of the OSCE's main regular decision-making bodies. It convenes weekly in Vienna to discuss developments in the OSCE area and to make decisions.