Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, who arrived in Tskhinvali on April 25, met with the breakaway South Ossetia’s leader Eduard Kokoity.
“We expect, that the Georgian leadership will implicitly confirm its commitment not to use force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” Lavrov said in his opening remarks at the meeting with Kokoity, RIA Novosti and Interfax news agencies reported.
“We will provide any assistance to South Ossetia in this regard and we will strongly insist that international discussions consider this task as a priority,” Lavrov said.
“We don't rule out military provocations from Georgia, because anything can be expected from the current regime in Tbilisi; so we will spare no efforts to reliably protect the South Ossetian border and to be ready if someone will again wish to commit the crime of August, 2008," he said.
Russia had been insisting on, what it called, legally binding non-use of force agreement between Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi and Tskhinvali, which Georgia was against of. Last year Russia proposed unilateral non-use of force declarations to be made separately by Tbilisi, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. But after President Saakashvili made such unilateral non-use of force pledge at the European Parliament on November 23, Moscow again started to insist on a written agreement between the sides, but at the same time refusing to make itself part of such agreement, claiming that is a mediator not a party into the conflict.
In Tskhinvali Lavrov reiterated Russia’s commitment to assist in “restoring what has been destructed as a result of Georgian aggression.”
According to the South Ossetian officials, in Tskhinvali the Russian Foreign Minister is accompanied by his deputy Grigory Karasin, who is Russian chief negotiator in Geneva talks, as well as by head of the Russia’s North Ossetian Republic Teimuraz Mamsurov.
Lavrov and Kokoity exchanged notes marking entry into force a non-visa travel agreement between Moscow and Tskhinvali.
After visiting Tskhinvali Lavrov will travel to Sokhumi to meet with the breakaway Abkhazia’s leadership on April 26.