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Lavrov: Russia’s S.Ossetia, Abkhaz Decision Irreversible
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Jun.'10 / 20:38

The issue of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is already solved “finally and irreversibly” not only for Russia, but for “other serious countries” as well, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said.
 
“They simply can not acknowledge because of political correctness or some other political reasons,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian daily, Kommersant, published on June 11.

“I have said numerously that it was not our choice and all the complaints should be addressed to Mikheil Saakashvili, who trampled the territorial integrity of Georgia.”

Asked what did he mean when he said recently that immediately after the August, 2008, Georgia still had a chance to maintain possibility for restoration of territorial integrity, Lavrov responded: “When the purpose of the operation aimed at suppressing the aggression was fulfilled and the Russian President ordered to suspend a military operation, the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan was agreed, which laid the foundation for future actions. Its sixth point contained a provision on the need to launch international discussions over defining the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and ensuring their security. We have undersigned it. So, on August 12, 2008 the Russian President agreed that the status of these regions needed to be discussed on an international level.”

He said that from that point Russia was ready to continue discussions about the status of these two regions.

“The document was agreed. French President Nicolas Sarkozy took it to Tbilisi. Then he called and said that Saakashvili was categorically against discussing the status of these republics and that for him the status was in itself already obvious and this phrase should be removed [from the six-point agreement]. We agreed [to remove it],” Lavrov said.
 
“By the way, Saakashvili was also manipulating with other parts of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan. Six points were preceded by a preamble, which said: the Presidents of Russian Federation and France approve the underwritten principles and call on the sides to fulfill them. In the document, which Saakashvili finally agreed to sign, he not only removed the phrase about the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but he also edited out the preamble and is now saying that the document calls, including on Russia, to stop doing various things. The preamble was unambiguously saying that the two Presidents were calling on the sides to do this and that. That is why it is called the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan.”

Responding to a question about calls on Russia to fully fulfill its obligations under the six-point plan, in particular in respect of pulling troops to pre-August war positions, Lavrov said that Russia had already withdrawn its forces, which were sent during the war.

“By that time discussions on the status have been thwarted and revanchist statements, like the war is not yet over, were heard from Tbilisi , so by the end of August [2008] it was decided that there was no other way to provide the security and survival of Abkhazians and South Ossetians, rather than to recognize their independence,” Lavrov said.

“Currently Russian troops are stationed in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia are stationed there based on agreements between Russia and two states recognized by it. Russia has fulfilled the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan in this part.”

“By the way, those people, who say that we should return to the pre-August 8 line, forget that before August 8, 2008 our troops were stationed deep into the Georgia territory, because the peacekeepers were deployed not only in South Ossetia, which was then a part of Georgia, but also beyond its limits. The same situation was respect of Abkhazia. Therefore, if they call on us to move beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia and to locate on the line, where the security was provided by our peacekeepers before August 8, 2008, I would be glad if we were told about it directly,” Lavrov said.

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