TBILISI 'AGGRAVATING THE SITUATION'
Abkhazia Threatens Georgia with Second Front
Georgia's march into South Ossetia has prompted the Abkhazia to begin preparing for war as well. Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba told SPIEGEL ONLINE that his province might open up a second front.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How is Abkhazia reacting to the events in South Ossetia?
Shamba: We have a deal with South Ossetia on how we will deal with crisis situations. And we are now planning on implementing it. Our security council met all night and ordered our army to deploy this morning to the Georgian border.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Will a second front now be opened in Abkhazia?
Shamba: That depends on how the situation in South Ossetia develops. We understand very well that we Abkhazians are next in line after South Ossetia. If the situation doesn't stabilize again, then we will have to open a second front.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why did the situation suddenly escalate now to the degree it has?
Shamba: After the recognition of Kosovo, the situation intensified and Georgia understands that it is losing South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Further talks will only serve to distance the two republics even further from Georgia. That's why the Georgians themselves have started to aggravate the situation, violating previous agreements and applying constant pressure. That has led to a counter response and the situation has gotten out of control. We actually expected this in Abkhazia, but now it is happening in South Ossetia.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Given the situation, what kind of response are you expecting in Russia?
Shamba: We expect Russia and all members of the UN Security Council to take tough action. We expect they see the situation for what it is. Up until now, there have only been abstract statements in which Georgia has never been concretely blamed. This has created a situation where Georgia has acted accordingly and now isn't respecting anyone. But we have little hope for a fair verdict. Because we think that Georgia was given carte blanche by its partners for this offensive. Otherwise Georgia wouldn't have acted this way. Especially not on the day on which the Olympic Games are opening. Read more...
- Spiegel Online International - Sergei Shamba Interview
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