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Kokoity: "Georgia is pushing us toward a military union"

04.10.2005 00:00

Georgia itself is pushing Abkhazia and South Ossetia toward a military union, said Edward Kokoity, president of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia, at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

"Georgia itself is pushing us, by its actions, toward a military union. We would be happy to concentrate fully on the social, economic and cultural issues concerning both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But, to safeguard our republics' security, we have to strengthen our defensive capability", he said.

E. Kokoity emphasized that in case of Georgia denouncing all agreements on peaceful settlement and terminating the peacekeeping operation, "the functions of ensuring our population's security would be entrusted to the South Ossetian defense army".

"In response to the efforts that Georgia is making to have the Russian peacekeepers withdrawn from the conflict zone and replaced by some neutral forces, I have to state that we have no trust either in the Ukrainian side, which is supplying great quantities of arms to Georgia, or in any other countries which, by supporting Georgia, are thus building up a powerful military force against Russia", said E. Kokoity.

In his opinion, it is a counterproductive course. "If someone wants to become a player of some weight in the Caucasus, rattling his saber won't do the trick", added the president. According to E. Kokoity, "the international community has to understand that, by supporting Georgia, it is supporting an aggressor, and to take action to keep him in check".

"We in South Ossetia believe that upgrading the Mixed Control Commission (MCC) and continuing the peacekeeping operation in its present format is the only way of keeping the situation from slipping down to an armed conflict", concluded E. Kokoity.

Speaking of the recent pronouncements of Georgian politicians on a withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers, the South Ossetian president noted that Georgia had no right to unilaterally demand a withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone.

"A withdrawal of the peacekeeping force and a change in the format of the negotiations are not within the competence of Khaindrava and Saakashvili, but is a prerogative of all the four parties", said E. Kokoity. The South Ossetian president noted that "the Georgian side should be more attentive in studying all the agreements on the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and look for civilized ways out of it".

"The peacekeeping force may be withdrawn from the conflict zone only after the conflict has been fully settled", emphasized E. Kokoity.