Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russia-U.S. Relations: Perspectives and Prospects for the New Agenda
Sergey Lavrov on Russian-Georgian relations
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry accused NATO of &# 171; incitement&# 187;
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO of trying to “tear away from Russia” more and more countries, including Ukraine and Georgia, which, according to the Russian minister, he “loves very much”.
“They (NATO – N.Ch.) rejected our proposal to ensure the indivisibility of security: security cannot be provided at the expense of others. Instead, they want to involve more and more countries in NATO, to tear them away from Russia, ”Lavrov said on July 22, speaking at the All-Russian youth educational forum“ Territory of Meanings on the Klyazma ”.
The Russian Foreign Minister recalled that in April 2008, the following “political phrase” was recorded in the final declaration of the Bucharest summit of the North Atlantic Alliance: “The NATO countries are confident that Georgia and Ukraine will join NATO.” According to Lavrov, this was done as a “compensation” for the fact that the states of the North Atlantic Alliance could not agree on whether to send official invitations to Tbilisi and Kiev to join the alliance. Nevertheless, according to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, this promise was enough for Mikhail Saakashvili, who was then president of Georgia, to “blow off his head,” and as Lavrov claims, as a result, it was Georgia that initiated the August war..
“I have no doubts that the NATO inflammatory phrase“ Georgia will join NATO ”has played a role in this. Just as there is no doubt that the promise “Ukraine will join NATO too” addressed to Ukraine has sunk into the heads of not too responsible politicians. Now it has broken through, they are appealing to NATO, “Lavrov said..
It is noteworthy that both the previous and current leadership of Georgia refutes Russia’s accusations that the Russian-Georgian armed confrontation in 2008 began at the initiative of Georgia, pointing to the fact that it was Russian troops who then invaded Georgian territory and that Tbilisi’s military actions were defensive in nature, since Georgia could not start a war against the Russian Federation on its own territory. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is investigating war crimes that may have taken place during the five-day war between Russia and Georgia. The ICC decided to consider the charges against both the Georgian and the Russian and South Ossetian military, which, as the Russian Foreign Ministry said, “disappointed” Russia. Recall that in the ICC verdicts, responsibility for crimes is assigned to specific individuals, and not to states..
During the forum, Sergei Lavrov commented on the lack of diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia. According to him, since the Georgian leadership was the initiator of the severance of diplomatic relations in 2008, the responsibility for their restoration also lies with Tbilisi..
“This situation can be corrected in only one way – to restore diplomatic relations, since we did not break them off. Of course, the move is for our Georgian neighbors, “said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry..
Sergey Lavrov expressed regret that because of his position, in the absence of diplomatic relations, he cannot travel to Georgia, which, as he said, he “loves very much”.
“Probably, we all love this country since we lived together in one state. I am sure that we will solve all these problems, ”the Russian minister said..
Commenting on the prospects for the restoration of Russian-Georgian diplomatic relations, the special representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia for relations with the Russian Federation Zurab Abashidze once again repeated the position of official Tbilisi. He recalled that Georgia will be ready for this only if Russia withdraws its decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region..
“Unfortunately, there is no progress on the most difficult, problematic area – the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia … if the Russian side has the appropriate political will, then we are ready to take joint steps to gradually resolve these most difficult problems,” Abashidze said in a conversation with journalists on July 22.
Recall that in 2008 Russia recognized the independence of two Georgian regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – and transferred additional troops and weapons to its military bases in these territories. All states of the world – with the exception of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru – recognize these regions as the territory of Georgia occupied by Russia.
Speaking at a youth educational forum, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry also noted positive shifts in Russian-Georgian relations, stating that at this stage in them (relations) “one feels … more common sense.” He called the results of the meetings between his deputy Grigory Karasin and the special representative of the Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Abashidze “the right trend”.
“They meet regularly, grope for opportunities to normalize relations. Trade in fruit and vegetable products, wine has resumed, and now we have Borjomi an unprohibited drink … Air traffic has been restored: three charter companies make several flights a day. We are ready to consider the resumption of regular flights. All this is on the agenda, and I am convinced that the issues will be resolved, “Lavrov said..
A day earlier, Yan Zelinsky, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Relations, put forward an initiative to impose an embargo on Georgian products. As the reason, the Russian deputy named the fact that Georgia again supports one of the 12 sanctions that were established by the Council of the European Union in June 2014 in connection with the events in Ukraine. We are talking about a sanction related to the export of products manufactured in Sevastopol and Crimea. Nevertheless, later the chairman of the committee, Alexei Pushkov, told the media that at this stage Russia does not intend to take retaliatory measures, “on the basis that steps are needed to improve relations, and not, on the contrary, worsen them.”
“This is, first of all, a propaganda and political step, largely dictated by the desire of the Georgian leadership to demonstrate its unity with the West, which initiated these sanctions … Russia does not perceive this step as friendly, but at the same time does not consider it necessary at this stage to automatically take retaliatory measures “, – explained Pushkov.
As a reminder, Russia imposed an embargo on the supply of Georgian food products, including wines and mineral water, in 2006 against the backdrop of deteriorating bilateral relations. Representatives of the party of Mikhail Saakashvili, who was then president of Georgia, called the ban politically motivated, but the Russian authorities explained that the reason for its introduction was the low quality of Georgian products and violations of sanitary standards, systematically allowed during production. In 2013, after the change of power in Georgia, Russia lifted the embargo.