Friday, August 29, 2008
Tbilisi has announced it will sever all diplomatic ties with Moscow within the next 24 hours. All Georgian diplomats will be recalled from Russia on Saturday, according to the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze. Earlier, its parliament declared that all Russian troops in the conflict zone were ‘occupiers’.
Vashadze also said that Russian diplomats should leave Georgia.
Russia has expressed deep regret at the decision. Andrey Nesterenko, a spokesperson for the country’s Foreign Ministry, said: “It’s not the choice of Russia. And the responsibility will rest with Georgia.”
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But the Ministry has not received an official confirmation of the Georgian decision to break off diplomatic relations.
The Georgian Consulate, however, will continue operating in Russia, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
“This decision does not mean that, for instance, contacts between the two countries’ foreign ministries will be severed completely,” said Vashadze. “Such meetings are possible on territories of third countries.”
The resolution issued by the parliament said all military units, except those allowed by the Georgian constitution, are illegal. Thursday’s sitting of parliament instructed the country’s government to sever diplomatic relations with Russia.
Earlier this week, Tbilisi recalled most of its embassy staff from Moscow.
The parliament has also called on the government to cancel all agreements which allow Russian peacekeepers to remain in the disputed republics. These include the UN-backed ceasefire deals of the 1990s.
The Georgian military launched an attack against South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.
Shortly afterwards, Russia called an emergency session of the UN Security Council in an attempt to end the Georgian aggression, but it didn’t bring any results.
Taking into consideration that many in South Ossetia had Russian passports, President Dmitry Medvedev ordered elements of Russia’s 58th Army to enter the conflict zone – the move Georgia called an invasion.
This article was posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 at 10:07 am