SUKHUM, November 24 (Itar-Tass) - The statement of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in the European Parliament that Georgia will not use force in the settlement of conflicts in the South Caucasus “is not a signal for the start of a peaceful dialogue for Abkhazia,” Abkhazian Foreign Minister Maxim Gvindzhiya commented on Wednesday.
The foreign minister said he did not react to “Saakashvili’s statements with enthusiasm, as Georgia has never demonstrated positive intentions towards Abkhazia in the past 18 years”.
“We have seen nothing from Georgia but wars and provocations. That is why we treat Saakashvili’s statement with caution. Let us check his words through concrete moves,” the foreign minister told reporters here.
Addressing a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Saakashvili said Georgia “is interested in beginning serious negotiations with the Russian leadership,” and besides “it comes out with a unilateral initiative to never use force for the restoration of its territorial integrity”.
“Tbilisi is ready to a comprehensive dialogue with Russian partners,” he noted.
Russia will trust the promises of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to stay away from the use of force when they are placed on paper and take legal effect, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a comment on Saakashvili's speech in the European parliament.
"If one puts aside the political gewgawry and the collection of nice-looking literary quotations, the speech produces a really dual impression," the commentary said. "On the one hand, one would really like to believe that the claims on renunciation of the use of force reflect recognition of the truths that Russia and other members of the international community have been trying to drive home to the Georgian leadership for many long years, namely, that the methods based on the application of force and military resolution of problems are inadmissible and criminal in today's world."
"Still the manner, in which this ostensibly 'unilateral solemn pledge' is presented, cannot but put one on alert," the Foreign Ministry said. "Saakashvili goes on with his attempts to convince the international community of the existence of a conflict of some kind between Russia and Georgia, while the genuine case in hand is the many-years-long conflict between the Georgian government and the peoples of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which ended in a final independent self-determination of the two countries after Georgia's aggressive military adventure in August 2008," the commentary said.
"Russia continues believing that the only way to peace and security in Southern Caucasus lies through a legal affirmation of the commitment to the non-use of force between Tbilisi and South Ossetia, as well as Tbilisi and Abkhazia," the ministry said.