Russia Against Haste In Resolving Georgian-Ossetian Conflict

RUSSIA AGAINST HASTE IN RESOLVING GEORGIAN-OSSETIAN CONFLICT

RIA Novosti, Moscow
18 Apr 06

Tbilisi, 18 April: Hastening the process of settlement in South Ossetia
and Abkhazia could lead to the situation deteriorating, Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister and Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary Grigoriy
Karasin told RIA-Novosti today.

Karasin was in Georgia on a one-day working visit, during which he
held talks with representatives of the Georgian Foreign Ministry,
the leaders of the republic of South Ossetia and the command of the
Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone.

“I think the theory of rushing and acceleration is unjustifiable. The
main condition for progressing in such conflicts is to nurture mutual
trust between conflicting sides. This should be done not through
intimidating but persuading that the situation must be resolved by
predictable peaceful means,” Karasin believes.

He noted that during the consultations they “discussed the whole
range of bilateral relations, including the most difficult aspects,
which have accumulated in the last months and years”.

“I would described the consultations in Tbilisi as not easy but
useful. They have given us good food for thought and let us compare
out attitudes towards the problems. First of all, we discussed the
atmosphere of bilateral relations, because it is very difficult and
causes anxiety. Both sides clearly see that they need to continue
contacts on various levels, exchange opinions in a frankly and
business-like manner and try to make them closer wherever possible,”
he said.

Karasin said that in South Ossetia he had been able “to see what
a conflict zone is, what Tkhinvali is, how people live”. “This is
very important for understanding what happens around South Ossetia,”
he said.

“We have once again confirmed our view that our peacekeepers are a
very important and necessary part of a settlement, as they prevent
escalation and bloodshed. We have seen once again that the format of
the Joint Control Commission is the most efficient and unique method
of moving forward and there is no point in breaking it under various
pretexts,” Karasin said.

He believes that “one has to fully honour the agreements which have
already been reached and try to find new ways to move forward”.

Earlier this morning Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin
left Tbilisi for Yerevan, where a regional conference of Russian
ambassadors to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will take place.

In addition, Karasin said, meetings with Armenian leaders are planned
in Yerevan.

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