Moscow slams NATO-Georgia commission’s statement on South Ossetia

Soldiers in Tskhinval, South Ossetia (RIA Novosti / Sergey Karpov)
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has sharply criticized the alliance’s position regarding the situation in the South Caucasus after a meeting of the Georgia-NATO council.

­Representatives of Tbilisi and NATO’s foreign ministers met in Berlin last week to discuss the situation on Georgia’s border with its former provinces, the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In the statement adopted after the meeting, the alliance recognized Russia’s removal of its checkpoint in the village of Perevi.

But NATO ministers called it only “the first step.” They urged Moscow “to stand by its commitments” determined by agreements concluded with the EU mediation in September 2008, following the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday’s evening got tough on the NATO statement. The document includes “the usual set of biased wordings that are far from reality,” the ministry said. It added the alliance once again urges Russia “to observe” agreements between the presidents of Russia and France.

The ministry reminded yet again that “the only disputable issue regarding fulfilling commitments of agreements between Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy was completely resolved on October 18, 2010.” Then the Russian frontier guard post was removed from the village of Perevi deep into South Ossetia’s territory.

Earlier, it had not been clear to which side that plot of land belongs. After the move, the boundary between Georgia and South Ossetia was determined.  

“NATO partners had better urge the Georgian leadership for a constructive approach to the issues of security and stability in the South Caucasus,” the Russian ministry said. It regretted that the alliance has been repeatedly sending “false signals” about Russia’s alleged commitments.  

Meanwhile, the Georgian parliament on Monday unanimously supported President Mikhail Saakshvili’s proposal not to extend the agreement between Moscow and Tbilisi on military cargo and personnel transit.

The agreement that was ratified in 2006 expired and the Georgian leadership chose not to renew it. The pact allowed Moscow to use Georgian territory as a transit for a Russian military base in Armenia.