Saakashvili Downplays Moscow’s Abkhaz, S.Ossetia Rhetoric
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Mar.'08 / 14:59

Russian rhetoric on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is simply a tactic and will not lead to Russian recognition of these breakaway regions, President Saakashvili said in an interview with the Russian daily Kommersant.

In the interview, published on March 31, Saakashvili, however, also warned that such a tactic might lead “to a very bad strategy; so there is no need to play this game.”

He also said that during his meeting with President Putin in Moscow in February he was told that “Russia would never recognize Abkhazia or South Ossetia… It was promised and Russia has kept its promise.”

He also said that both the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry had “hinted many times” that Moscow’s public rhetoric was just a tactic, “which should not be taken seriously.” “So you’ve been told: we will make some statements, but don’t worry about it?” the journalist asked. “Yes,” Saakashvili replied. “This is a kind of tactic… We are very calm and do not expect any complications.”

He also suggested that Russia’s rhetoric on Abkhazia and South Ossetia was mostly directed towards NATO allies “to scare them” and to foil Georgia’s invitation to Membership Action Plan (MAP).

“But NATO allies will not be scared by it. But it may exacerbate the situation in the conflict zones. I can show restraint, because I have experience. But those people in the conflict zones have a limited outlook because they are isolated and because of a lack of information. So there is no need to use them. They take everything seriously and not just as a game. Although this is a game and this is what we have been told in the Kremlin,” Saakashvili said.

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