The Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 27 that opening of NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center outside Tbilisi represents continuation of the Alliance’s “provocative policy,” which will become a “serious destabilizing factor” in the region.
Speaking at a regular news briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that “those who actively continue dragging Tbilisi into NATO should realize their share of responsibility taking into account regrettable experience from 2008.”
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“Just ahead of this briefing, information came, which could not have been left beyond our attention, that the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center was opened during the visit of NATO Secretary General Mr Stoltenberg to Georgia,” Zakharova said by the end of her opening remarks at the news conference.
“We consider this step as a continuation of the Alliance’s provocative policy, which aims at expanding its geopolitical influence; moreover, [NATO] is doing this with the use of resources of partners of the Alliance,” she said.
“Deployment of such a military facility of the North Atlantic Alliance in Georgia will become a serious destabilizing factor for the security in the region.”
“Such a conclusion is based on an existing tragic experience; you all remember events of August, 2008 – Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia; no one has a doubt that declaration on Georgia’s NATO membership perspective at the Alliance’s summit in Bucharest in April, 2008, inspired kind of illusion of all-permissiveness among then leadership in Tbilisi and largely encouraged criminal attempt to solve the conflict through use of military force and to invade South Ossetia,” Zakharova said.
“Judging from some Georgian politicians’ actions and statements, Georgia has not reconciled with irreversible consequences of its adventure in 2008 and still claims territories of its neighboring republics [referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia], and persistently declines to sign documents on non-use of force,” she said.
“Those who actively continue dragging Tbilisi into NATO should realize their share of responsibility taking into account regrettable experience from 2008,” Zakharova said.
“Russia will continue to remain committed to its international commitments on providing reliable security to its allies – republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. At the same time we will take into consideration all the new elements in development of NATO-Georgia cooperation,” she added.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Tbilisi that the opening of the joint training center at the Krtsanisi military facility outside Tbilisi “is not directed against anybody.”
“On the contrary, it will improve regional and international stability,” he said.
Reiterating NATO’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, Stoltenberg also said: “Russia’s latest actions to move the administrative boundary line of the South Ossetia region of Georgia are yet another breach of Russia’s international commitments.”
Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili said after the meeting with the NATO Secretary General in Tbilisi on August 27, that the NATO-Georgia joint training center would “in no way be directed against any of the neighboring country.”
“It will serve strengthening of the regional security, stability and peace. The center with its content and function will contribute to international security and what is the most important the center will serve to increasing professionalism of our soldiers,” PM Garibashvili said.
“I want to stress once against that this center cannot in any way be perceived as directed any of country,” the PM said.
“Our government continues its pragmatic policy with Russia. We continue dialogue on trade and economic issues with Russia and we are committed to maintain this pragmatic and constructive policy,” he added.
Garibashvili also said that he “informed the Secretary General in details about the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and about Georgia’s unilateral pragmatic and constructive steps.”