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    Georgia says Russian pressure led to changes in UN Caucasus report -2

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    Georgia's foreign minister claimed on Tuesday that the UN Secretary General's draft report on the situation in the Caucasus region had been amended due to pressure from Russia.

    (Adds opposition's reaction in paras 6-7)

    TBILISI, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's foreign minister claimed on Tuesday that the UN Secretary General's draft report on the situation in the Caucasus region had been amended due to pressure from Russia.

    The revised draft report was submitted by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon three days later than anticipated and, unlike previous drafts, makes no mention of Georgia's sovereignty over its former republic of Abkhazia.

    "The document has some positive points, but also points clearly indicating that they were introduced under pressure from Russia," Grigol Vashadze told reporters.

    He added that the report was an interim document and served as a compromise solution to advance stalled Geneva talks aimed at trying to reduce tension in the region following a brief conflict between Russia and Georgia last August.

    "The key developments should occur on June 15 when the UN Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution on the situation in Georgia," the minister said.

    Georgia's opposition also criticized the report, but blamed the current situation on President Mikheil Saakashvili. The opposition urged the refugees to respond with "mass protest actions."

    One of the opposition leaders, Georgy Khaindrava, said the report was "the first step towards the loss of Georgia's territorial integrity," adding that "tomorrow the same report was expected on Tskhinvali."

    The Geneva talks resumed on Tuesday after the participants received the amended version of the draft report. Abkhazia cited a previous draft, entitled "On the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia," as a reason for pulling out of the talks.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry called Georgian claims "empty talk" and said Moscow was dissatisfied with the document.

    "We consider this draft report to be a biased document. Many of its points differ from our position and our views on the current situation in the Caucasus region," said Igor Lyakin-Frolov, a deputy director of the ministry's information and press department.

    The Geneva talks, which started on Monday, are backed by the UN, the EU and the OSCE and involve Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    Russia recognized the former Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states on August 26 last year. The move came two weeks after the end of a five-day war with Georgia which began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia to try to regain control of the region.

    Friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance treaties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia were signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last November.

    Under the pacts, Russia has among other things pledged to help the republics protect their borders, and the signatories have granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.

     

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