Friday, April 24, 2009

RF, S Ossetia, Georgia agree to establish 24-hour hotline - RF general

Representatives of Russia, South Ossetia and Georgia have agreed to establish a 24-hour hotline.
They met in the Georgian village of Ergneti, near the border with South Ossetia, on Thursday for the first time after the events in the Caucasus last August.

"Officials have been appointed for this purpose," first deputy chief of Russia's General Staff Lieutenant-General Sergei Antonov told Itar-Tass.

In his words, the parties agreed "to meet twice a month as the need arises and in the state of emergency". "The next meeting is planning to be held in the Georgian village of Ergneti in the beginning of December. A responsible and non-easy work should be done and their effectiveness will depend on political will and high professionalism of all participants in the meeting," Antonov said.

According to the general, the results of the joint work will be thoroughly studied. Antonov said, "New recommendations will be needed to increase the effectiveness of the work on preventing any incidents." "Special attention will be riveted to objective information given after incidents. Lives of peoples depend on this work. We call on all participants in the meeting to resolve problems responsibly."

Antonov noted that Russia's position is to ease tension and restore trust between South Ossetia and Georgia. "It's such approach that was proposed by our colleagues during today's meeting - Russia, South Ossetia, Georgia, the EU and with the participation of OSCE representatives," he said.

"We seek to adequately react on the situation in the field of security, including joint briefings on a regular basis, ensure security of important facilities, counteract crimes, provide humanitarian aid and solve other problems that could strengthen stability and security, prevent incidents and react on them," Antonov said.

"The meeting is being held within the framework of the Geneva agreements on the normalisation of the situation in the area adjacent to the South Ossetian-Georgian border and on the improvement of closer contacts between Russia and the European Union in order to settle the situation in this zone," the Russian military explained.

"We consider an important political event the agreements reached at the Geneva consultations and designed to prevent and react on incidents. This is an important practical result that will facilitate stability and security in the region, i.e. in the border area - between South Ossetia and Georgia," he said.

South Ossetia's delegation is led by presidential deputy plenipotentiary representative for the post-conflict settlement Merab Chigoyev and Georgia is represented by head of the Interior Ministry's press department Shota Utiashvili, and the EU delegation is led by head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia Haber Hansjorg.

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