Offensive Armaments being Supplied to Georgia

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov drew attention of EU foreign ministers to the information about the deliveries of armaments to Georgia.

“It was useful to inform the European colleagues about Russia’s assessment of the events” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, he said.

“The Georgian government has been permanently refusing to sign non-aggression agreements with Abkhazia and Georgia. We are very concerned about that,” Lavrov said.

In his words, “the partners offered to continue the discussion of this problem.”

There is information about the deliveries of a huge amount of offensive armaments to Georgia through various channels, Lavrov said on Friday.

As for the proposal of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to demilitarize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Lavrov said, “such proposals are thought provoking against the background of information about the deliveries of a huge amount of offensive armaments to Georgia through various channels.”

The statement Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili made at the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly “will most certainly complicate the efforts taken by Russia and other intermediaries to settle the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” Lavrov said.

“The implementation of earlier accords is the key to the resolution of conflicts,” he said.

“So far, we are witnessing the Tbilisi refusal to implement the non-aggression agreements and its own commitment to set up a joint working group with North Ossetia and start drafting a settlement plan. We are naturally concerned about that,” Lavrov said.

“Military threats must stop before the negotiations start,” he said. “It is also necessary to stop military preparations, and respect for earlier accords must be guaranteed.”

The Russian peacekeepers stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia fulfill their duty honesty and efficiency, according to the information of the OSCE and the UN secretary general, Lavrov said.

“According to the information registered by the UN and the OSCE, Russian peacekeepers are permanently violating their mandates in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Saakashvili said.

“Nothing is farther from the truth than this statement,” Lavrov said. “I am amazed by the huge amount of distorted facts in the speech by the Georgian president.”

Sixty thousand people have returned to Abkhazia, so Georgian claims that refugees are unable to come back to their Abkhaz homes, including the Gali district, allegedly because of the Russian peacekeepers are unfounded, Lavrov said.

“A number of accusations made by the Georgian president in his speech at the United Nations do not stand to criticism,” he said.

Saakashvili claimed that refugees are allegedly unable to return to Abkhazia, including the Gali district, because of the Russian peacekeepers, but “60,000 are back home,” Lavrov said. “Besides, Russia has been offering Georgia to resume the fulfillment of the Sochi summit agreements for over a year now. This is also a matter of the refugee affairs group.”

“The Georgian side is neglecting the offer and turning down the UN proposals to re-register the refugees in order to regulate the process of their return,” Lavrov said.

Tbilisi is ready to sign a comprehensive non-aggression pact with Abkhazia and South Ossetia only after the pullout of Russian peacekeepers from the conflict zones and the deployment of international police forces, Saakashvili said at the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly on Friday.

“It is necessary to change the current format of the settlement negotiations and the peacekeeping operations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as they have proven to be inefficient,” he said.

Saakashvili described his plan as a roadmap of the settlement of conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is targeted for “peaceful reunification of Georgia within the internationally recognized borders.”

”The demilitarization of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with the active support of the UN, the OSCE, the European Union and other international organizations is a compulsory element of the roadmap,” he said.

In his words, the implementation of the plan will require “direct dialog between the Georgian central government and the separatist authorities,” Saakashvili said. “These efforts can and must bring success through the deployment of international police forces in the region with the energetic assistance by the international community,” he said.

“It is impossible to resolve the problem without Russia,” Saakashvili said, adding that Tbilisi is ready for “working with the northern neighbor.”