Question: Last week, there were reports that American
observers might join the EU mission in Georgia. EU Special
Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby followed
up by saying that a discussion could be held in the fall. What
is your attitude to this idea?
Answer: Our attitude is distinctly negative. First,
because the idea does not stem from the missions mandate
worded in keeping with the agreements reached by the Russian
and French presidents the mandate provides for no American
participation. Second, the question can be examined if there
is a common wish to expand the mission, but we do not consider
it advisable because we see no additional factor of stability
in an American presence. On the contrary, we have always
emphasized that the U.S. bears considerable responsibility for
the events that took place in August 2008 in South Ossetia.
Therefore, we do not trust the Americans. All these years the
U.S. has been arming, equipping and training Georgian troops
and continues to do so, again restoring military
infrastructure, and again preparing the Georgian army for new
acts of aggression. This sticks out like a sore thumb.
What were the American instructors training the Georgian army
for here, on Abkhazias territory, at the upper end of the
Kodor Gorge? For an attack on Abkhazia. We are perfectly aware
that attempts to instill a new combative spirit in the
Georgian army will create a new threat in the region. And we
do not see the American side as a factor contributing to
stability in the area. Therefore we are absolutely opposed to
this idea, and will not let Americans in, at least on our
What is more, we said straight away that attempts to include
the Americans in the EU mission are also calling in question
our participation in the five-country meeting to prevent and
investigate incidents involving Abkhazia, Russia, Georgia, the
EU and UN.
This idea also casts doubt over our role in the Geneva
process. Besides, a recent decision extended the EU mission in
Georgia in its former format for one more year and provided
for no American presence.
Q: What do you think of the effectiveness of the EU
mission in the region?
A: So far, we see no effectiveness in the moves taken
by the European Union in Georgia. We have repeatedly stated
that the EU does not react in any way to Georgias military
build-up on the border and to its creation of new threats. So
we do not consider the EUs steps to be effective. But joint
actions and complaints that can be voiced during five-party
meetings may prove effective. Time will tell.
Q: How can one view recommendations by the Foreign
Ministry of Belarus to its citizens to observe Georgian laws
in Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
A: Unfortunately, the spokesman for the Belarusian
Foreign Ministry has not been very correct and proper in his
statement. Even Germany and Poland, which also made similar
recommendations, did it in milder form German diplomats did
not recommend their citizens to visit Georgia after Abkhazia.
The point is that the Belarusian diplomats statement was
caused by circumstances in which the Georgian leadership
placed Belarusian citizens, when it began detaining and
arresting people because they had previously visited Abkhazia.
Belarus had to warn its citizens of this danger, but did not
do it tactfully enough.
There is already a statement by the foreign minister of
Belarus, however, who said that the issue of recognizing
Abkhazia is not off the agenda yet.
Q: Recently, Commander of Airborne Troops of Russia
Vladimir Shamanov said that Russia would help Abkhazia and
South Ossetia to set up small aviation units. What do you
think of Tbilisis threats to go to the international court if
Russian aircraft fly over Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
A: We do not generally heed such statements; they mean
little to us. We are developing relations with Russia in the
military, economic and other fields. As far as our security is
concerned, we will do everything necessary for the safety of
our country. We have concluded an agreement on the joint
protection of the border. The border will have cutting edge
technology. Before long we will sign an agreement on a
military base and many other accords. In this sense,
deployment of small aviation units in Abkhazia is of great
interest to us.
The main thing is that we do not threaten anyone. There has
not been a single act of aggression from us in the entire
history of our relations with Georgia. Georgia, on the other
hand, has committed four such acts against Abkhazia since the
breakdown of the Soviet Union