Putin Urges Georgia, South Ossetia To Negotiate

Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic
Aug 20 2004

Putin Urges Georgia, South Ossetia To Negotiate

20 August 2004 — Russian President Vladimir Putin today urged
Georgia and its separatist region of South Ossetia to renounce
violence and settle their standoff through talks.

Addressing reporters after meeting Armenian President Robert
Kocharian in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said only
negotiations will allow the sides to find a solution to their
sovereignty dispute.

“There can be only one way out: to sit down to the negotiation table;
secondly, to be able to reach agreements; and thirdly, to have enough
political will to implement those agreements,” Putin said.

Putin also said he hoped both parties will have enough “political
will” to implement decisions reached by the joint commission in
charge of monitoring the 1992 Georgian-South Ossetian peace

Earlier today, Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Georgia’s decision
to pull back its troops from South Ossetia after this week’s

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the pullout yesterday
after its forces took possession of strategic outposts near the
regional capital Tskhinvali.

Russia had earlier criticized Saakashvili for sending troops into
South Ossetia despite earlier pledges to peacefully reassert his
authority over the region.