Olesya Vartanian, Demis Polandov / Ekho Kavkaza
PRAGUE -- TBILISI
Viacheslav Chirikba, presidential advisor on Foreign Affairs in the breakaway republic, commented from the Abkhazian side in a conversation with Demis Polandov on Mikheil Saakashvili's statement.
Viacheslav Chirikba: The attitude in Abkhazia and South Ossetia toward the Georgian leader's oral undertaking is perfectly clear. He himself commands no credibility, and his words command even less. Therefore, we must think not of oral statements, whereever made, but of an agreement on the non-use of force between Georgia and Abkhazia and between South Ossetia and Georgia, which would also be signed by the OSCE, UN, EU and also by some other countries as guarantors. Georgia's reluctance to sign such an agreement is a sign that Georgia is leaving itself a loophole to resort at some convenient future moment to military force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is how we perceive it, and no assurances of the Georgian leader, the more so when enunciated in the European Parliament rather than in an address to our people, can serve as a guarantee or be taken seriously. And so, our attitude to this is absolutely clear.
Demis Polandov: But Saakashvili said he would send the relevant documents to international organisations. Furthermore, as far as I understand, it was in any case a Russian proposal such a document be signed, albeit unilaterally.
Viacheslav Chirikba: During the negotiations in Geneva, where I am involved, there really was a problem over Georgia's signing an agreement on the non-use of force was. Georgia categorically refused this and, in practice, brought the negotiations to a dead-end. In order to break the deadlock, Russia has proposed as an interim measure to accept such a unilateral declaration on the parts of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia that they will not use force against each other. For us, it is also an interim measure, because, without a bilateral agreement, we will not consider the document to have full value, although it would be a step towards full-scale normalisation of relations between Abkhazia and Georgia. So we accept the Russian proposal for what it is, but we consider it as interim.
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Foreign Minister of the self-declared Republic of Abkhazia, Maxim Gvindzhia, commenting on the address by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, in the European Parliament told "Echo of the Caucasus" that "the document on the non-use of force should not be just a statement, but a statement backed by guarantees." Gvindzhia noted that the guarantors in this case should be Russia and EU states.
In Gvinjia's words, the Abkhaz side proposed two options to Georgia during the Geneva talks: to sign an agreement on the non-use of force with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or to send a statement to the UN, in which Georgia commits itself not to resort to force.
Saakashvili today said he would send a letterto the leaders of the UN, OSCE and EUin which Georgia will take upon itself such a commitment.
"We must first see this letter and discuss it in Geneva," Gvindzhia told "Echo of the Caucasus."
Source: Ekho Kavkaza (В Сухуми не верят устным обязательствам Саакашвили)