Sergei Lavrov: West Learns no Lessons from the Recent Developments in the Caucasus

The NATO plan to help Georgia to rebuild its military power means that the West has failed to learn a lesson from the latest development in the Caucasus. Georgia carried out an operation in South Ossetia from the 8th through the 12th of August. Georgian forces almost completely destroyed the capital of the republic Tskhinvali and many settlements and killed, according to South Ossetian authorities, over 15 hundred civilians. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded this at a news conference after a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Yu Myung-hwan in Moscow.

Sergei Lavrov emphasized that the US and other NATO member countries would reportedly be involved in rebuilding the Georgian army. The prevention of Georgia from militarization will be a key issue at the international conference on settling the situation on the Caucasus due to be held in Geneva on the 15th of next month. The Russian Minister confirmed that his country would nevertheless fulfill commitments undertaken to settle the conflict.

Sergei Lavrov says that the document endorsed by the presidents of Russia and France at the presence of the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of the Council is an intelligible document that is not subjected to any interpretation. Russian peacekeeping posts along Poti-Sinaki line will be withdrawn within seven days after the 12th of September in the light of European Union guarantee that no force will be used against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The other positions of the Russian peacekeepers in the security zone around South Ossetia and Abkhazia will remain unchanged because the first step must be taken by the European Union that pledged to deploy no less than 200 its monitors along the line before the 1st of October in addition to the observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, emphasized Sergei Lavrov.

The Russian Foreign Minister pointed to the fact that no guarantee had received from the Georgian President concerning the non-use of force against independent republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The EU provided the guarantees instead of Mr. Saakshvili, and Moscow will demand for their fulfillment. At the same time Sergei Lavrov emphasized that the EU monitors would be deployed around South Ossetia and Abkhazia rather than on the territories of the two republics, while the mandate of the UN and OSCE monitors have to be approved by the authorities of the two republics.

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 10Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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