Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, said after thirteenth round of Geneva talks on October 14 that Russia would withdraw its troops from the village of Perevi in the “nearest future” as “an act of good will.
“The Russian Federation has prepared and will withdraw the Russian border guard troops in the nearest future from the village of Perevi, which is located on geographically disputed territory,” Itar-Tass news agency reported quoting Karasin said.
The village of Perevi administratively falls under the Sachkhere district and is the only area outside the administrative borders of breakaway South Ossetia, which remains under the Russian control following the August, 2008 war. In December, 2008 Russian troops briefly pulled back from the village, but re-entered and re-installed checkpoints there only hours after the withdrawal. Russia cited a prompt deployment of the Georgian Interior Ministry forces in Perevi as a reason behind the decision to retake control over the village.
“This is an act of responsibility, an act of good will and at the same time a test for our Georgian partners in restraint,” he said.
“When our border guard troops pull back, the territory of South Ossetia will be fully defined and borders of the republic will be fully under the Russian border guard troops’ control on the basis of bilateral agreement [between Tskhinvali and Moscow] and at the same time no one will be able to reprove border guard troops for presence somewhere on the Georgian territory,” Karasin said.
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria, who leads the Georgian delegation in Geneva talks, said “de-occupation of any territory or a village is a positive development,” but he also indicated that Russia’s announcement should not be overestimated.
"They [Russia] will try to ‘sell’ this move as a constructive step, but I want to emphasis, that it is only a slightest part of those commitments, which they have undertaken" under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, Bokeria said.
He said that this move by Russia should be viewed "in a right context" and possible withdrawal from Perevi should not lead to easing international pressure on Russia over its unfulfilled commitments. "And it won't happen," Bokeria added.