Russia to raise issue of arms embargo on Georgia at Geneva talks

Russia plans to raise the issue of imposing an arms embargo on Georgia at talks scheduled for October 15 in Geneva, the Russian foreign minister said Friday.

"We will discuss, above all, ways to prevent aggression, and most importantly, the task of the demilitarization of Georgia," Sergei Lavrov said at a Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Moscow.

The Russian minister reiterated that Moscow believes it is necessary to impose arms embargo on Georgia adding that it should be in place "at least while [President Mikheil] Saakashvili is in power."

Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution Tuesday calling for an embargo on arms sales to Georgia, after the United States announced measures to rebuild the South Caucasus country's military.

Lavrov also said Russia would not discuss the issue of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia at the Geneva talks, and would not participate in talks on the future status of the republics.

For Russia, he said, the issue had already been decided.

Russia recognized the republics as independent on August 26, two weeks after it had concluded a military operation in response to an attack by Georgian forces on South Ossetia.

[Source: Novosti, Moscow, 12Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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