Tbilisi doesn’t want escalation of conflict in S Ossetia -Georgia DM

ITAR-TASS News Agency
August 11, 2004 Wednesday 8:06 PM Eastern Time

Tbilisi doesn’t want escalation of conflict in SOssetia – minister


Georgian Defense Minister Georgy Baramidze said Tbilisi was not
interested in a conflict flaring up in South Ossetia, and that it had
come up with peaceful initiatives to resolve the problem.

The first initiative envisions the withdrawal from the zone of the
Georgia-South Ossetian conflict of all armed groups, except the
peacekeepers and police, Baramidze said in an interview with the
newspaper Kommersant, published on Thursday after his talks in

The second initiative proposes to expand the mandate of OSCE
observers and increase their numbers, foremost near the Roksky

Baramidze also said Georgia was ready “to open gates to investments”
by both private and official Russian capital. “We are ready to give
/Russia/ the opportunity to take part in the privatization of not
only ordinary economic facilities, but also strategic ones,” the
minister stated.

He noted that Russian capital could participate in privatizing the
central gas pipeline which supplies Armenia, the power grid and
Georgian ports.

“We realized that it poses no threat /to Georgia/; on the contrary,
it would be excellent for economic development and the settlement of
relations with Russia,” Baramidze said.

“Having attained civilized influence in the sphere of economy, Russia
will have a serious argument as to why Tbilisi can be trusted. It
will mean that Georgia won’t go anywhere,” he added.