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Russian Foreign Ministry: Georgia blocks guarantees on non-use of force in South Caucasus (02.04.12)

The Georgian side has in fact blocked during the 19th round of international discussions on security in the South Caucasus, which was held in Geneva, the opportunity to legalize the unilateral guarantees not to use force by Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told journalists.

"The meeting ended on a constructive note, despite the efforts of our Georgian partners, who in fact blocked our proposal to adopt a joint statement of the Geneva discussions' participants on non-use of force, which provided support to the three statements made by the leaders of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia at the end of 2010," the diplomat said.
He said the Georgian side stated that the agreement is not enough and that they "are waiting for the statements of the Russian Federation".

"As you know, it is contrary to our position of principle, because we are not and were not party to the conflict. Our armed forces have helped to repel the Georgian aggression in August 2008. Therefore, those three statements that were made are an important step forward, but it's still necessary to ensure that they are recorded on paper as an international legal instruments," he stressed.

The problem of signing of the agreement on non-use of force remains a key issue. Tbilisi does not want to sign a contract with Tskhinvali and Sukhumi, considering this conflict as Georgian-Russian. Moscow, in turn, refuses to give assurances of Tbilisi on non-use of force, and insists on a legally binding obligation of Georgia on non-aggression against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Georgia is not going to do it, because in this case, it in fact will recognize the independence of the former autonomous regions, which the Georgian side considers "occupied territories".

However, the Russian side with its international partners - the EU and the U.S. - agreed to be guarantor of the implementation of unilateral declarations of the non-use of force, which presidents of Abkhazia and South Sergei Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity made in late 2010, in response to a speech by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili at the European Parliament, where he announced that he will not use force to "restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty."

Military actions were launched in the Georgian territory, South Ossetia on Aug.8 in 2008. Later the Russian troops occupied the Tskhinvali city and drove the Georgian military back. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in late August. In response, Tbilisi broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow and announced two unrecognized republics as the occupied territories.