Tbilisi: Russian Deputy FM Discusses Georgia In Iran

RUSSIAN DEPUTY FM DISCUSSES GEORGIA IN IRAN

The FINANCIAL
Monday, October 20, 2008
Georgia

The FINANCIAL — According to Civil Georgia, Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, said in an interview with the Russian news
agency, RIA Novosti, that he had discussed situation in South Caucasus
in the context of the August war "in details" during his visit to Iran.

He said that Russia had "assessed appropriately" Iran’s position
over the developments in August, as well as Iran’s initiatives over
stabilization of situation in the region. "We expect that Iran will
specify its approach on the matter. In fact, working on the initiative
can become an important contribution to the stabilization of situation
in the South Caucasus," he added, which going into details of the
Iran’s initiatives.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki held talks with the
Georgian leadership in Tbilisi on September 17. Mottaki’s visit to
Tbilisi followed his trips to Russia, Azerbaijan and Germany. And on
September 16 he met with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian;
the latter was in Tbilisi on September 12.

"Our work is not mediation," the official Iranian news agency, IRNA,
quoted Mottaki as saying after meeting his Georgian counterpart. He
also added that "presenting ideas can help find a solution to the
crisis."

Mottaki also said that the August events in Georgia were "regrettable"
and Iran was closely following developments "given our sensitivity
towards restoration of security and stability" in this region.

In his address to the UN General Assembly on September 23, Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said NATO ‘s "provocations," "certain
western powers" and "underhanded actions of the Zionists" were to
blame for the August war in Georgia.

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also told RIA Novosti that he had
informed the Iranian side about the MOSCOW ‘s position over Georgia
in the context of the October 15 Geneva talks.

"We have stressed that discussions on providing security to South
Ossetia and Abkhazia should continue with making a focus on preventing
re-militarization of Tbilisi . Some circles, including some governments
and not only within NATO , seem to be moving in that direction,"
Ryabkov said. "This trend is a source of concern for us and we will
counter these efforts."

Daniel Fried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, said after the
October 15 Geneva talks that Russia’s demand for an embargo on the
supply of offensive weapons to Georgia "is not in the first line of
practicality given the Russian preponderance of force" in the region.

Ryabkov also pointed out in the interview with the Russian news
agency that signing of binding treaties between Tbilisi and Sokhumi
and Tskhinvali on non-use of forces should also be a priority during
the international discussions over these two regions.

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