Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the 1996 CIS treaty imposing sanctions on Abkhazia has created a serious threat of destabilization and has undermined the legal framework underpinning CIS peace operations in the conflict zone, Irakli Alasania, Georgia’s ambassador to the UN, said on March 11.
Speaking at a press conference in New York, Alasania said that the international community’s attention needed to be focused on the alarming fact that Russia, by withdrawing from the treaty, no longer felt obligated not to prevent the sale and supply of all kinds of armaments, equipment and ammunitions to the Abkhaz side.
Alasania said, according to the UN press release, that the Russian Federation’s action could be seen as an attempt to legitimize military cooperation with the de facto regime, which, according to Alasania, was responsible for ethnic cleansing.
The Georgian ambassador also criticised the UN, saying it had failed, despite hopes to the contrary, to resolve the conflict.
Meanwhile, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said he regretted the Russian decision and urged the Russian side to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“Most alarming is the prospect that Russia’s withdrawal from the sanctions could lead to arms transfers to the separatists,” Reuters quoted the American as saying on March 11.
“We do not see how it contributes to stability in the South Caucasus, resolution of the Abkhaz conflict, or improvement of Russian-Georgian relations,” he added.
The U.S. ambassador also voiced support for Georgian NATO membership. “Georgia is not alone,” he said. “We support Georgia’s future as a member of the transatlantic community.”