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Interfax:Igor Savolsky: Russia Wants Reliable Settlements In Breakaway Republics

posted by FerrasB on August, 2005 as Imperialism

Igor Savolsky: Russia wants reliable settlements in breakaway republics

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) - Igor Savolsky, the Foreign Ministry's envoy for the Commonwealth of Independent States, in a Monday interview with Interfax talked about Russia's position on several problems in relations with Moldova and Georgia.

Speaking about the presence of Russian troops in Transdniestria, he said Russia will not withdraw its peacekeepers there before a comprehensive settlement is achieved.

"Our peacekeepers are in the region, in the security zone, under the 1992 agreement on ending the armed conflict. Their withdrawal will be based on a totally different mechanism [from the one used to withdraw Russian troops from Georgia] and only on condition that a comprehensive settlement is achieved for the Transdniestrian conflict. If this happens, the problem of external guarantees and possible military guarantees for Transdniestria will be solved within the framework of that settlement, as well," Savolsky said.

"But we are far from a definitive settlement," he said.
 On Russian army equipment stockpiles in Transdniestria, he said: "We have no desire to preserve the storehouses containing tremendous amounts of military property, primarily ammunition, which are located in the Transdniestrian region of Moldova. But we cannot withdraw them without the consent of the local authorities. And that territory is not controlled by the Moldovan central government."

He was commenting on a statement by William Burns, who has been nominated as the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, that the United States hails a recent Russian-Georgian agreement to remove the two Russian military bases from Georgia and hopes Russia makes a similar deal with Moldova.

Asked what Russia thinks about prospects for a settlement in Transdniestria, Savolsky said Russia regards the law on principles for Transdniestria's status passed in Moldova as a rollback to the times of the armed conflict.

"We believe it is an erroneous decision. One cannot prepare this kind of law without the approval of the other side. The law deals with the future of Transdniestria and the Transdniestrians, but no one has asked for their opinion," Savolsky said.

 "According to the information we have on this law, it means returning to the positions of the armed conflict, positions that preceded the negotiation process," he said.
 On Thursday, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin signed a bill on the fundamentals of the special legal status of towns and villages on the left bank of the Dniester River, under which Transdniestria would be given the status of a special autonomous territory.

 Commenting on reports that Tbilisi is saying the future of the bilateral framework treaty depends on Russia's stance on Georgia's territorial integrity, Savolsky said: "We are an assisting party to the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts. We are interested in the long-term, stable settlement of these conflicts."

 Approaches from a position of strength cannot be permitted in settling these conflicts and confidence between the sides should be promoted, he said.
 Speaking about the present state of Russian-Georgian relations, Savolsky said there are forces in Georgia interested in preserving tension.

 "There are forces in Georgia that are seeking to maintain a certain level of tension in our relations," he said, commenting on recent claims made in Georgia that the February 1 terrorist act in Gori was planned in Russia.

"The allegations made by the Georgian side are absolutely unfounded. If one judges by ordinary human logic, none of what they are saying makes any sense at all," he said.
 Asked how far Russia and Georgia have moved towards a planned framework treaty, Savolsky said that during a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Georgia in February, "we handed over our compromise proposals on some of the articles [of the proposed treaty] dealing with cooperation in various fields, including the field of security, and are now awaiting responses from Georgia."

"So far, Georgia has been saying that before signing the treaty on the fundamentals of relations, we should resolve certain problems such as the problem of military bases, border delimitation and others," Savolsky said.

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