Grigory Karasin, the Russian deputy foreign minister, reiterated Moscow’s position on the need of having two separate OSCE missions one based in Tskhinvali and another one in Tbilisi to reflect the change of realities on the ground since the August war.
He told the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna that other options would keep organization member states “hostages of politicized and stalemated situation.”
In his address Karasin spoke much about the Russia’s interpretation of launch of the August war and post-war developments, justifying Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Karasin also spoke against, what he called, “remilitarization” of Georgia.
“Deep concern is caused by the plans of the Georgian leadership to remilitarize the country, which surprisingly cause a positive reaction among a number of western states. At the same time, there are attempts to hide military cooperation with the Georgian side including under the guise of ‘humanitarian aid aimed at overcoming consequences of the conflict’,” Karasin said.
“We cannot assess it otherwise than political short-sightedness,” he continued. “Further re-equipment of the Georgian army, assistance in restoration of military infrastructure, training of special purpose units on the part of some western countries only encourages official Tbilisi for continuation of a militant course, policy of threats and provocations in respect of its neighbors. It is regretful that not everybody in the world understands a danger of supporting the adventurous course of the present Georgian leadership.”
“The ongoing protest rallies of the Georgian opposition and deepening of internal political instability in Georgian confirm serious systemic failures in the activities of Georgia’s present state machinery.”
“It is high time for the Georgian political elite to temper down its geopolitical ambitions and to start gradual normalization of relations with its neighbors. Eventually, that is exactly what will help Georgia to take a worthy place in the regional politics,” Karasin added.
He also said that Russia was still insisting on a binding agreement between Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali on non-use of force. Karasin said that putting a relevant provision about the need for such agreements in the upcoming UN Security Council resolution on Abkhazia would help to stabilize situation in the region.
In a response statement at the OSCE Permanent Council, U.S. chargé d'affaires Kyle Scott said that views of Washington and Moscow on situation in Georgia were “markedly different”.
He reiterated the U.S. support for the Greek OSCE chairmanship’s “status-neutral proposal” on presence of OSCE mission in Georgia, which was rejected by Moscow. Progress on the issue, he continued, would help to restore trust and confidence in the region.
“Unfortunately, many Russian actions in Georgia, such as its establishment of military bases in the breakaway regions, and its deployment of FSB border guards to the administrative boundary lines, have had the opposite effect. The same holds true for allowing Russian companies to explore for oil and gas in Georgian waters [reference to Abkhazia], and promoting illegitimate elections in the South Ossetian region,” the U.S. diplomat said.