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2 Sep, 2008 10:37

Our partnership with EU is mutually beneficial – Russia

In a statement commenting on the emergency EU summit concerning the situation in the Caucasus, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Russia-EU cooperation should not be “a hostage to divergence of opinion on particular issues”

“The results of the EU summit have been quite predictable as there had been no lack of announcements by European politicians preceding it. Some countries have called for introducing sanctions against Russia and freezing relations with it, they have tried to denounce our policy, though based on distorting the facts which had led to the conflict in the Caucasus. Nevertheless, the most important thing is that the majority of the EU member countries have demonstrated a responsible approach to the issue and confirmed their course towards the partnership with Russia as they realise the significance of mutually beneficial cooperation, in the framework of which a lot has been achieved lately.

Obviously we cannot agree with a number of preconceived pronouncements about Russia, which the concluding summit declaration contains, including the thesis about our disproportionate reaction to Georgia’s aggression. By the way, Georgia’s actions haven’t been given any assessment by the summit, as well as the actions of those who had been supplying Georgia with arms in violation of OSCE and EU rules.

As for the practical conclusions of the EU summit, we regret the intention to suspend talks on the new Russia-EU partnership agreement though Moscow has got used to feigned obstacles to this agreement during the last two years. We are interested in signing it to the same extent as the EU. As for now, there are enough possibilities for the development of the mutually beneficial cooperation of Russia and the European countries in various fields.

On the whole, we suppose that our partnership with the EU should not be a hostage to the divergence of opinion on particular questions.

Our partnership is of mutual benefit, and it would be at least imprudent to put it under threat. For our part we are ready for constructive and equal cooperation and continuing dialogue on all issues, including those where our positions differ. In fact, this is the way partners should deal with each other.

Based on this approach, it is possible to find solutions to the most complicated problems, as the initiative of the French President has proved. It resulted in the signing of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan on August 12 in Moscow for the settlement of the situation which followed the attack by the Georgian troops on Tskhinval. Russia strictly adheres to the six-point agreement and does not attempt to rewrite it. We have fulfilled all necessary conditions required on our part. We have also made concrete suggestions about how to implement issues related to steps by the international community. We are actively working with the OSCE to enlarge the number of its observers in Georgia, we have suggested setting up an international police presence under its auspices, and we are for an active role of the EU in these structures. Their full implementation in the security zones, their demilitarisation and agreements guaranteeing the non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia will allow the creation of international mechanisms to provide security in these republics in compliance with points five and six of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan. Certainly, it is necessary to make sure that Georgian troops return to their barracks.

We expect that in the course of the forthcoming visit of the French President to Moscow on September 8, the issues of the practical implementation of the plan will be discussed,” the statement says.

Most important points of Medvedev-Sarkozy not implemented – Moscow

Moscow does not see the implementation of one of the most important points of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, that is the return of Georgian troops to their barracks. The statement comes from Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Nesterenko on Tuesday.

He also said Georgia is organising provocations against the Russian military in the conflict zone. “Georgia is actively trying to restore the military efficiency of its forces,” said Nesterenko.

He added that on Monday there were demonstrations near the security point of Karameti which were marked by provocations against Russian troops.

“We have information that these demonstrations were specially organised, possibly, by the corresponding Georgian authorities,” he said.

Although Georgia earlier said it was severing diplomatic ties with Russia, Moscow has not yet received any official documents to this end, the Foreign Ministry spokesman told journalists.

Two American, one Polish, one Spanish and one German ship are currently stationed in the Black Sea.

“Only three countries, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, have the right to keep as many ships in the Black Sea, as they judge it necessary as they are considered to be coastal countries,” said Nesterenko.