Thursday, February 5, 2009

S. Ossetia ready to build good-neighborly relations with Georgia -diplomat

Georgia's acting Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze's statement that Georgia will not sign an agreement with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the non-use of force, continues the policy which Georgia has been pursuing for the past few years, South Ossetian Foreign Minister Murat Dzhioyev told Interfax. Even before August 2008, "we had urged nternational organizations to influence Georgia into signing a memorandum on non-aggression and non-use of force, but Georgia refused to do so, as it was evidently preparing for the August aggression against South Ossetia," he said.

Since August, South Ossetia has said on many occasions that an agreement and memorandum on the non-use of force must be signed, Dzhioyev said. That was also voiced in South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity's address to citizens and parliament on December 26 2008. "South Ossetia is ready to develop good-neighborly relations with Georgia, and expects Georgia to be pragmatic and make the only correct decision - recognize South Ossetia's independence and sign an agreement on the non-use of force while establishing bilateral relations, he said.

This issue requires discussion, primarily at international organizations, which have committed themselves to be guarantors of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, he added. "I think Grigol Vashadze's statement requires special attention. Measures must be taken to prevent a new war in the Caucasus," the minister said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Vashadze said that Georgia will not be the first to sign the agreement on the non-use of force with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia wants Georgia to do.

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