Russia will take measures to prevent “negative effect” of “never-ending attempts to drag Tbilisi into NATO,” Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, said on February 18.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting with foreign minister of breakaway South Ossetia in Moscow, Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s long-standing insistence on the need for Georgia to sign with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali “legally binding” non-use of force agreements.
“This issue is of special relevance against the background of never-ending attempts to drag Tbilisi into NATO,” Lavrov said.
“We were unanimous [with South Ossetian foreign minister] that it will not contribute to the efforts of securing stability in the Trans-Caucasus and if these steps gain practical shape – and judging by all signs it is already starting to happen – we will of course take measures in order not to allow negative effect of these processes on the situation,” the Russian Foreign Minister added.
Russia’s permanent representative at NATO, Alexander Grushko, said earlier in February that NATO’s intention to establish a training center in Georgia is a “provocative” step. “Emergence of NATO military facilities in Georgia is a step towards escalation of tension and worsening of regional security,” Grushko said.
Speaking at a news conference after signing an agreement on “the state border” with foreign minister of breakaway South Ossetia, David Sanakoev, Lavrov also said this agreement should finally lay to rest speculation as if Russia intends to annex South Ossetia.
Moscow and Tskhinvali are also preparing a new treaty on “alliance and integration”, which Tbilisi condemns as “de facto annexation” of the region by Russia.
Draft of the planned treaty on “alliance and integration” between Moscow and Tskhinvali, will formalize merger of the breakaway region’s many key structures with those of the Russian Federation. According to the draft treaty defense, security, and customs agencies of the breakaway region should become part of relevant ministries and agencies of Russia. Border crossing point at Roki tunnel, which links the breakaway region with Russia, will be removed, according to the draft.
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