Monday, February 16, 2009

Sergey Lavrov "Saakashvili destroys Georgian territorial integrity with his own hands"

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili destroyed Georgia's territorial integrity himself, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published by the Sunday issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel.

"Georgia treated chauvinistically the two indigenous peoples attached to it in the Soviet period. President Mikhail Saakashvili destroyed the Georgian territorial integrity with his order to bomb a peaceful city in South Ossetia. That was a crime against his own people, as violence was used against the ones Saakashvili called ‘Georgian citizens'," he said.
In the opinion of Lavrov, the South Ossetia and Abkhazia situation is similar with the Kosovo situation only on the surface.

"Kosovo also had a war, a long and cruel war, which, in our opinion, totally disagreed with international laws. The war was stopped in 1999 with UN Security Council resolution 1244 honored by Serbia. In contrast to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, there was no pressure on Kosovo Albanians and no one attacked them. There was no reason for declaring independence of Kosovo," Lavrov said.

Asked whether Russia was surprised with the world reluctance to recognize independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Lavrov said, "The geopolitical effect was not material to us. It was important though to protect people, who had been targets of provocative and terrorist acts for the previous 20 years."

Russia had no other way but recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as soon as Georgia refused to discuss their possible status and said that the war was not over, Lavrov said. NATO and the UN Security Council "refused to tackle the problem and the West said that Georgia would be armed again," the minister said. "Then we realized that we were able to ensure survival of South Ossetia and Abkhazia only with their recognition as independent states."

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