Jan 30, 2007

Abkhazia: Russia Denies Plans

Russian officials deny drafting proposals regarding the status of Abkhazia, claiming all proposals should be initiated by the parties concerned.

Below is an article published by Relief Web:

Speculations about Moscow drafting a proposal on Abkhazia and South Ossetia status are "exaggerated," but if the sides agree on a solution for the conflicts based on confederation principles Moscow will not object, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on January 23.

The Russian daily Kommersant reported in December, that Moscow is developing a plan for conflict resolution in South Ossetia and Abkhazia based on the principle of a "united state" in the form of a confederation uniting Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"Issues related with the definition of the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be discussed at the final stage of the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflict resolution process," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an information note.

Moscow will not make any hasty decisions on the issue "and we do not recommend anyone to do so - this would be a shortsighted step," the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

It also said that initiatives about status should be proposed by the parties concerned.

"If the parties agree, let's say on unification based on confederation principles, naturally there will be no objections from our side," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the South Ossetian leader both noted during the meeting in Moscow on January 19 that speculations of this kind are "absolutely groundless," the information note reads.

"Both of them have stressed that the existing reality and such a fundamental factor as expression of will of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian people should be taken into consideration while dealing with resolution of the conflicts. It is also important to prevent protracted pauses and attempts to thwart the negotiating process, which should develop in the frames of already existing formats," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.