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Restricting armoured technology will not guarantee peace2009-02-05 16:02
On 1 February in Moscow, a meeting took place between Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko, the head of the European Commission's Moscow office Mark Franco and the ambassadors of the Czech Republic and Sweden, Miroslav Kostelka and Tomas Bertelman. They discussed the situation in the South Caucasus.
Aleksandr Grushko first of all confirmed media reports about the possibility of naval and air bases being located on Abkhazian territory. He explained that this was necessary to ensure the security of the republic and was entirely in line with the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan. He also added, as the news and press department of the Foreign Ministry reports on its website:
"The armed forces of the Russian Federation carried out an important task in repelling Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. At the moment they are ensuring that peace and stability are maintained in the region, and act as a guarantor that the events of August 2008, which had severe humanitarian consequences, will not be repeated."
At the same time, Grushko clarified that the parameters and conditions for any future Russian presence will be fixed in separate agreements "founded on the international principle of the consent of the host state".
As far as Georgia's behaviour since the conflict is concerned, the Russian diplomat expressed concern over its military build-up near the borders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as over the acts of provocation committed by Tbilisi.
In regard to this, Grushko pointed out to his European colleagues the need for the Georgians to sign legally binding agreements on the non-use of force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as a type of non-aggression pact.
The news and press department of the Foreign Ministry has not reported anything about what the other participants in the meeting said. And, most importantly, how they reacted to Grushko's proposal.
Whereas in Georgia the idea of any agreements provoked a harsh response. On 3 February, at a meeting with the US Ambassador in Tbilisi John F. Tefft, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze declared, as quoted by Rosbalt:
"Under no circumstances will Georgia be the first to take such a step. Firstly, because we will not grant any legitimacy to the puppet regimes established by the occupying troops. Secondly, under the agreement of 12 August (the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan - A.G.) Georgia has already committed itself not to use force, and is implementing this faithfully."
Here the minister is clearly failing to tell the truth. Both on the first and second points.