From: MSN Nicknamepsychoteddybear24 (Original Message) Sent: 7/12/2008 11:42 AM
Lavrov ‘regrets’ Rice’s Abkhazia stance
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 23:05:57
Russian FM expresses disappointment over the US Secretary of State’s comments that Georgia’s NATO accession would solve the Abkhazia conflict.
“We greatly regret Condoleezza Rice’s statements before and during her visit to Tbilisi that granting Georgia a NATO MAP would resolve the Georgian-Abkhaz problem. Rather, it would be more likely to ‘bury’ it,” said the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russia is averse to Tbilisi’s inclusion in the NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) saying further eastward expansion could throw the alliance off balance. The Georgian public have likewise objected the bid.
Though the Russian official held that the differences had to be settled without recourse to force, the leader of the secessionist Georgian region, Sergey Bagapsh, in talks with whom Lavrov issued the statements, said he did not discount the possibility of engagement as Georgia had ‘chosen the way of terrorism’.
Bagapsh and the Russian party are currently weighing up the chances of opening of a ‘Russian Foreign Ministry representative office’ in Abkhazia.
Though, during her Thursday visit, Rice suggested that Moscow could widen the chasm, Lavrov noted that Abkhazia and the other separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia owed their internal peace to Russia’s military presence there.