Friday, 15 February 2008

Russia to mind Kosovo in Abkhazia, South Ossetia policy

MOSCOW, February 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russia will have to take into account the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence in its policy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after the meeting of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with the Abkhazian and South Ossetian leaders, Sergei Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity.

“Proclamation and recognition of Kosovo’s independence will certainly have to be considered in connection with the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At that, Russia confirms its invariable striving to assist in every way a peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts within the framework of the existing formats, and to counter any attempts to solve the problems with forceful methods,” the Foreign Ministry said.

It said the sides “have stated concern over the destructive consequences that the recognition of Kosovo’s independence can entail”.

“Such step envisages a revision of generally accepted norms and principles of the international law, and is able to lead to the undermining of rules and ethics of interstate communication, “ the Foreign Ministry said.

“Matters relating to a regular meeting of the UN Secretary-General Group of Friends of Georgia in Geneva with the participation of the parties in the Georgian- Abkhazian conflict were touched upon during the conversation. Sergei Bagapsh expressed readiness of the Abkhazian side for further interaction with the UN in the search for ways of a peaceful settlement.”

South Ossetia’s leader Eduard Kokoity in turn informed Lavrov and Bagapsh about measures of his government to consolidate law and order in South Ossetia.

“The Russian foreign minister highly appraised the peaceful initiatives that were put forward by the South Ossetian president at a news conference in Moscow on January 23. Moscow is convinced that their implementation would be an important step down the road to conflict settlement,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“The sides confirmed the intention to seek the speedy resumption of the negotiations on Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian settlement within the framework of internationally recognized formats,” it said.

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