Text of report by Russian news agency RIA Novosti
Istanbul, 4 February: Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Valeri Chechelashvili sees no direct link between the recent gas crisis in his country and a possible radical decision of the Georgian parliament on the [Russian] peacekeeping mission in South Ossetia.
"I would not look for a direct link between the recent gas crisis in Georgia and a possible radical decision of the Georgian parliament on the peacekeeping mission in South Ossetia," Chechelashvili said in an interview to RIA Novosti. According to him, "it is the quality of Russian-Georgian cooperation in settling the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts that can affect the Georgian parliament's decision".
Chechelashvili noted that on 7 February several Georgian ministers would submit their reports on the efficiency of the peacekeeping mission in South Ossetia to a joint meeting of the Georgian parliament's Foreign Relations Committee and Defence and Security Committee. The meeting will be attended by the minister [of state] for the settlement of conflicts and the ministers of defence, internal affairs and foreign affairs. "The meeting will be closed. Therefore, it would be incorrect to make premature comments on the final outcome of the parliamentary debate," Chechelashvili said.
Answering a question about some analysts' opinions that Georgia could try to resolve the conflicts by force, Chechelashvili said: "We have done so much work to convince the international community, including Russia, to support Georgia's peace plan that none of our partners, except Russia, has any doubts that our government is fully committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict".
Commenting on the prospects for the continued presence of the Russian peacekeepers in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone, Chechelashvili noted: "There are no Russian peacekeepers in Nagornyy Karabakh, but the situation there is more stable".
Answering the agency's question on whether or not a possible settlement in Kosovo could serve as a model for the Abkhazia conflict, Chechelashvili said: "These are two completely different things". "The question of Kosovo's status cannot be used as a model for the settlement of other conflicts. In particular, we consider parallels to Georgia's conflicts as completely irrelevant, if only because in Kosovo there was an ethnic cleansing of the Albanians while in Abkhazia there was an ethnic cleansing of the Georgians. This is confirmed by OSCE documents as well," he said.
Commenting on the recent resolution of the UN Security Council on the extension of the mandate of UN monitors in Abkhazia for two months [instead of the usual six months], Chechelashvili said that "it was a forced decision because the UN Security Council could not agree on the text of the resolution 'On Abkhazia (Georgia)'". According to Chechelashvili, the disagreement was caused by a radical change in the position of Russia, which refused to support the resolution's paragraph that "the status of Abkhazia should be defined within a united Georgian state".
Source: RIA Novosti, Moscow, in Russian 1359 gmt 4 Feb 06