• Saakashvili: ‘we should be ready to repel enemy attack’
• Clinton: ‘we will never recognize S.Ossetia and Abkhazia’
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said continued armament of Georgia was “a serious problem”, which he discussed with counterparts from NATO at a meeting in Brussels on December 4.
“We have paid special attention to those risks, which are related with continued supplies of arms to Georgia. We hope that the alliance-member states made necessary conclusions from last year’s August events,” Lavrov said at a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting.
“This is a serious problem. Weapons continue to be supplied in Georgia. According to some estimations Georgia’s pre-war military potential is already restored,” he said.
“And mainly offensive weapons are being delivered to Georgia. I hope everyone understands how risky it is to arm this regime. We have discussed it in details within the NATO-Russia Council.”
Addressing soldiers from the artillery brigade on December 4, President Saakashvili said that facing continued occupation of Georgia’s two breakaway regions by Russia, the Georgian armed forces “should be permanently on high readiness.”
“The enemy is constantly considering new provocations and attacks. The Georgian state’s major goal should be liberation of our occupied territories. All of our actions should be directed towards achieving this goal through peaceful means. But we should also be ready to repel enemy’s new attacks,” Saakashvili said.
He reiterated that Russia would not reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and described the western calls for such move “an old cliché”, which did not take into consideration “real situation on the ground in the Trans-Caucasus.”
In its final statement the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels called on Russia “to reverse its recognition” of Georgia’s two breakaway regions.
Lavrov downplayed the wording and said such an approach was a pre-August war holdover and “I think it will pass away.”
Speaking at a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council meeting, U.S. Secretary General, Hillary Clinton, said she raised Georgia at the NRC meeting.
“I made it very clear that the United States supported Georgia, that we would never recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, that we wish to see Russia work with the international community to bring about a peaceful resolution of the situation, that we applauded the creation of a monitoring system that would try to prevent actions from escalating,” Clinton said.