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Clinton on ‘Status-Neutral’ Approach to Abkhazia, S.Ossetia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 15 Oct.'09 / 12:23

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said in Moscow on October 14 that it was now important that “neither the Georgians nor the South Ossetians nor the Abkhazians do anything provocative.”

“And we have told that to the Georgians, and I am confident that the Russian Government has told that to the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” she told an audience at the Moscow State University.

“It is a very difficult set of relationships at work in Georgia. But the first and most important goal must be to make sure there’s no more conflict. If there are problems to be resolved, they should be put within the diplomatic political arena and to avoid any further military action whatsoever.”

“Therefore, we believe that it’s important to have a constant presence of observers and peacekeepers so that there is no basis or no room for something that would lead to further bloodshed to occur,” she said.

“In my meetings with Minister Lavrov [on October 13], we have discussed how we can perhaps go back to the drawing boards to create a status-neutral approach to create that kind of buffer zone, that kind of observer position through Geneva, through the UN, through the OSCE,” Clinton added.

She also said that was the issue which the two countries saw “differently”, but it was important to keep on talks on the matter.

Clinton also said that when she became the Secretary of State, the relations between NATO and Russia were suspended, following the August war.

“The NATO-Russia Council had stopped meeting because of the very strong feelings that many people had about what happened in Georgia. And my position was you may disagree with – about what happened in Georgia, but we shouldn’t stop talking. We have to keep talking. So we have reinstated the NATO-Russia Council so that we can have a forum so that the United States and Russia will constantly be in communication when something happens that could be a serious challenge to our relationship,” she said.

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