President Saakashvili’s recent remarks on Russia cast doubt over sincerity of his non-use of force pledge and make it difficult to continue serious discussions on confidence-building measures, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on February 1.
The reference was made on statements made by President Saakashvili during his lengthy live televised question and answer session with the public on January 25. He said he would use a term “enemy” while referring to Russia and added that he was looking forward to the time when he would no longer use this term in reference to Russia. “You know there is a principle of boomerang and you know a great tragedy happened yesterday in Moscow [terrorist act in Domodedovo airport]; there is no justification for terrorism,” Saakashvili said. He also said that Russia had “a political mentality, which is on the level of reptile; like a crocodile ready to swallow you up.” He said the war was not yet over and Georgia would win this war if the country remained consolidated and continued its development. He described Russia’s North Caucasus as “ghetto”, where, he said, local population was repressed.
“It has been confirmed, that the Georgian authorities insistently continue line of further deterioration of relations with Russia. At the same time concerns of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sides about their security in the face of direct threat from the Georgian side are justified,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“After this kind of remarks by the Georgian President it is difficult to continue serious discussions on the issues related with confidence building and return of refugees, as it is envisaged by the agenda of the Geneva Discussions on Trans-Caucasus. Real stance of Tbilisi is not in line with the solemn pledge [on non-use of force] made before the international audience in Strasbourg [at the European Parliament] and in other Western cities. With the efforts of the Georgian leadership Geneva [discussions] are again being thrown back. With this in mind, it is clear that issue of providing firm security to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and providing them with guarantees of non-use of force from Georgia remain major priorities for the Geneva Discussions. We will take it into consideration in the process of preparation of 15th round of [Geneva talks] scheduled for March 4. We hope that the international community and first and foremost UN, OSCE and EU, as co-chairs of the Geneva meetings, will give adequate assessment to the existing situation and will support the Russian Federation’s efforts directed towards strengthening still fragile security and stability in the region,” the Russian Foreign ministry said.