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Lavrov Speaks of Georgia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 May.'08 / 17:25

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Tbilisi to undertake commitments on non-use of force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, RIA Novosti news agency reported on May 20.

Speaking at a hearing at the Russian State Duma, the lower house of the parliament, Lavrov stressed that the Georgian government’s actions contradicted those peaceful initiatives, which were unveiled by Tbilisi recently in respect of Abkhazia. Lavrov said that just this was the reason of Sokhumi’s and Tskhinvali’s skeptical attitude towards those initiatives.

Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying that the Georgian side’s “provocative actions” hampered dialogue between Tbilisi and the separatist regions.

“Practical actions of the Georgian leadership, which are accompanied by provocations, including against our peacekeepers, do not back Georgia’s claim about its readiness build a dialogue between the conflicting sides,” Lavrov said.

“Georgia concentrates troops on the borders with the conflict zones, enhances purchase of offensive armament and continues flights [over the conflict zone in Abkhazia]. In particular, within past month the Abkhazian side downed seven Georgian [unmanned reconnaissance] drones,” RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying.

Georgia had confirmed downing of only one of its drone on April 20.

He also said that the current situation in the conflict zones is tense and just therefore Russia increased its peacekeeping contingent up to 2,500 in order to avoid provocations.

The Russian Foreign Minister also called on Tbilisi to take “reciprocal moves” in exchange of keeping those promises, which were made during the meeting of the two presidents in February. Lavrov did not specify what he meant under “reciprocal moves.”

“We expect an adequate reaction from the Georgian side. However, it is not observed for now,” Lavrov said. “Generally, we want to restore good neighborly relations with Georgia.”

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