Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Georgia ready to resolve South Ossetia conflict on basis of "mutual compromises"

BBC - 27 June 2007

The head of the Tbilisi-backed temporary administration in South Ossetia, Dmitriy Sanakoyev, has said at a meeting of the EU Parliamentary Relations Committee in Brussels that the European Parliament should facilitate the settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, the Georgian Mze TV station reports.

Mze TV quotes Sanakoyev as saying that the conflict is a "Soviet legacy". To secure a "just and peaceful settlement" it is necessary to "restore trust and mutual respect", which is impossible without a "direct dialogue" between the Georgian and Ossetian peoples, Sanakoyev, adding that friends like the EU should facilitate this. He also said that Georgia had the political will to resolve the conflict on the basis of "mutual compromises", the report says.

Asked if Russia's involvement in the settlement process was dangerous, Sanakoyev said that it was not official Moscow that was creating problems, but a certain group of "fascist-minded" politicians.

A European MP from the United Kingdom, Charles Tannock, told the TV station after Sanakoyev's speech: "We are not Russia's enemies, we are its friends. We are on friendly terms with Georgia too. Russia should understand that no-one needs ethnic confrontation in the Caucasus region."

"This is a well-known imperial policy pursued by the Russian Federation... President Putin has said that Kosovo can be a precedent for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but I am sure that this is simply intimidation," an uncaptioned European MP told Mze.

Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili, who is visiting Turkey now, has said that "Europe is a special rostrum for the head of the temporary administration" and added that other international institutions would also become familiar with Sanakoyev. "The European rostrum is open for everyone who wants peace and dialogue with us and who wants to find a way out," he concluded.

The chair of the Georgian Parliament Committee for Euro-Atlantic integration, Davit Bakradze, who accompanies Sanakoyev in Brussels, has told Mze that "our European colleagues were interested in hearing additional arguments from the Georgian side, which would strengthen their position at talks with the Russian side on why Kosovo cannot become a precedent for Abkhazia and South Ossetia". He said Sanakoyev's presence in Brussels and his speech were "the best arguments to rule out any parallel between Kosovo and South Ossetia", as "unlike Kosovo, there are very many people in South Ossetia who view their future within the united Georgian state."