The Russian Foreign Ministry has called on Tbilisi to refrain from holding a so-called “peace march” with the participation of ethnic Ossetians, claiming that it would fuel tensions in the South Ossetian conflict zone.
“In the event of a deterioration on the ground in South Ossetia, Russia will take all necessary steps, within the parameters of its peacekeeping and mediatory missions, and in accordance with its obligation to ensure the security of Russian citizens,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on September 14.
Moscow has claimed that the Georgian authorities are actively involved in preparing “the peace march.” Tskhinvali has also stated that Tbilisi is planning a rally sometime in September in the South Ossetian conflict zone under the auspices of Kokoity Fandarast, a Tbilisi-backed, anti-Kokoity movement. Officials in Tbilisi, however, have denied there are any such plans.
“It is planned to gather together several thousand people by offering them money. Those who refuse to accept the money and participate are being intimidated [by the organizers],” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“It seems that the organizers of this rally have more far-reaching goals. It is quite obvious, even at a cursory glance that they are preparing the following scenario: a clash between the participants of the march and the South Ossetian population, and peacekeepers will be provoked – afterwards Dimitri Sanakoev [the head of the South Ossetian provisional administration] will request that Tbilisi reestablish order – the Georgian side’s intentions to forcefully settle the conflict will be put into operation.”
Moscow has also claimed that “the peace march” has an added objective, of thwarting a session of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) planned in Tbilisi for late September.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called on Tbilisi to disown, what it called, “irresponsible” actions and urged the international community, including the OSCE, to respond appropriately.