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Tbilisi 'to Formalize' its Non-Use of Force Commitment
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Aug.'10 / 23:39

In next few weeks Georgia plans "to undertake new steps" in order "to officially formalize", that Tbilisi has no intention "to use military force against the Russian occupation," President Saakashvili said in an interview with the Russian radio station, Ekho Moskvy, on August 26.
He did not elaborate further details of what would be Georgia's "new steps" in this regard; he, however, said that it would "calm those in Russia, who seriously speak about possibility of the Georgian attack on Russian occupants, illegally present" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Moscow has been pushing for a long time already for a non-use of force treaties between Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. The most recent proposal by Russia involves "unilateral declarations" signed separately by Tbilisi, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali on non-use of force pledges. Russia itself refuses to sign such document, as it does not consider itself party into the conflict.

Tbilisi's position has long been that no new such treaty was required as non-use of force commitment already was including in the August 12 six-point ceasefire agreement. At the same time, Georgia has been saying that it was ready to sign a separate new treaty, but on the condition if Russia was also part of it. Georgia also wants the new treaty to reflect the commitments Russia has already undertaken under the six-point agreement, in particular the part of the agreement, which calls on the parties to return their military forces to the positions held prior to outbreak of hostilities on August 7.

President Saakashvili also said in the radio interview, that Tbilisi's intention "to formalize" non-use of force commitment would also "limit the room for maneuvering" for those in Russia "who use this imaginary Georgian threat for justifying thier further actions." He suggested that Russia's PM Vladimir Putin, who, he said, would apparently again run for presidency in 2012, might further fuel tensions with Georgia to use it for his electoral campaign.

"We will try not to make Russia's new electoral campaign develop against the background of final resolution of the Georgian issue," Saakashvili said.

He said that "recipe for overcoming" current troubles in Russo-Georgian relations "is very simple."

"Firstly, it is, as a minimum, de-occupation of the Georgian territories; giving Georgia possibility to decide itself how to develop, whom to elect, which alliances to join," Saakashvili said.

"We have expressed readiness for number of times to start talks on substantive issues without any preconditions... and this proposal remains in force," he said.

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