Russia hopes to maintain diplomatic relations with Georgia

Moscow believes it is essential to maintain diplomatic relations with Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"Georgia's Foreign Ministry informed us of its decision to lower diplomatic contacts and to cut the number of diplomats at its embassy in Moscow to five people," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the ministry, told a press conference here.

"We regret such decisions, as we are confident that under the current circumstances it is essential to maintain working diplomatic contacts," he was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

Nesterenko also warned that NATO's actions toward a confrontation with Russia would result in irreversible consequences.

"We consider it necessary to stress that NATO's confrontation with Russia, its attempts to exert pressure on us, are utterly unacceptable and could have irreversible consequences for the military-political climate and stability on the continent," he said.

The foreign ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are to discuss Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia at a meeting in Moscow on Sept. 5, the spokesman added.

Georgia's parliament on Thursday urged the government to cut off diplomatic relations with Russia after Moscow's recognition of the Georgia's breakaway regions as independent states.

The move came a day after Georgia said it would reduce its diplomatic staff at its Moscow embassy to a minimum in response to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's decision to recognize the two regions, which broke from central Georgian rule during wars in the early 1990s.

Georgia sent in troops to reclaim South Ossetia earlier this month, triggering a military counter-offensive by Russia, which ended on Aug. 12 following a French-brokered ceasefire agreement with Georgia.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 29Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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