Wednesday, March 01, 2006

USA stands behind Kosovo, Russia is behind us: Interview of South Ossetian speaker Znaur Gassiyev to REGNUM

REGNUM: Taking into account recent developments (decision of the Georgian parliament to replace peacekeeping corps in the conflict zone), how high is the possibility of coercive settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict?

An attempt to settle the conflict is probable in case “the war party” wins in Tbilisi. It means, if Georgian President Saakashvili lets aggressively incited politicians (Okruashvili – Defense Minister, Merabishvili – Interior Minister etc.) push himself around. It would be a gross mistake. Military way does not bring about a solution. Probably, someone might seem that Georgia and South Ossetia’s proportions and power are incommensurable, but no one should be mistaken. As for statements made by some Georgian politicians, who are about to declare a war against Russia, they do not correspond with a common sense at all. Everything is possible on Earth, but I personally think that Georgia will not resort to war.

REGNUM: What should be Russian response to the decision of the Georgian parliament on withdrawal of the peacekeepers from the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone?

Politics is a thing, which external manifestations can mislead. Often it consists of throwing dust in somebody’s eyes. In this case, the authors of the resolution are trying to show their courage. The Adjarian variant and then the fact that they achieved withdrawal of the Russian military bases even before Russia planned it have turned their heads. Now they have acquired taste for it, they want South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and they claim for withdrawal of the peacekeepers. But Georgia plays the peacekeepers’ card very clumsy. Withdrawal “from dictation” is impossible. Russia keeps its mediators here lawfully, in accordance to all the procedures of the international law. In this case, Russia cannot ignore the opinion of the South Ossetian population, most of which are Russian citizens. Russians protect Russians under the request of the latter. I cannot answer for Russia, but even common moral norms would let Russia go away from here.

REGNUM: What parallels can be set between Kosovo and South Ossetia deriving from a possibility that Kosovo independence can be recognized? .........


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