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Georgia and Russia reject to sit at the table under Turkeyâ€™s initiative
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1737 days ago | Saturday, 23rd August , 2008 , 03:19 [am] | Azerbaijan
|.||Georgia and Russia welcomed Turkey’s proposal of forming a Caucasian platform but rejected to sit at the same table, dealing a blow to Ankara’s hopes to form a platform to contribute a solution to the region’s problems. The Turkish FM telephoned Friday his Russian counterpart regarding the proposal.|
Georgia and Russia welcomed Turkey’s proposal of forming a Caucasian platform but rejected to sit at the same table, dealing a blow to Ankara’s hopes to form a platform to contribute a solution to the region’s problems. The Turkish FM telephoned Friday his Russian counterpart regarding the proposal.
Georgiaâ€™s ambassador to Turkey, in an interview with Turkish Daily News, welcomed the Turkey-sponsored initiative to create a Caucasus union but ruled out sitting at the negotiating table with Russia at the current stage as they were still under occupation.
Turkey had proposed the formation of a Caucasian union to strengthen economic ties between the countries in the region to contribute to the peaceful solution of the problems after the conflict that erupted between Georgia and Russia. Ankara believes a stable Caucasus is crucial for its interests.
â€œWe are ready to discuss with Turkey all kinds of regional initiatives but at this stage there is no possibility that we would enter any cooperation mechanism with Russia as long as the occupation goes on and a single occupying soldier stays on my soil,â€ Ambassador Grigol Mgaloblishvili was quoted as saying by TDN on Friday.
Clashes erupted in the Caucasus on Aug. 8 when Georgian forces launched an operation to regain control in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia’s harsh military response intensified the clashes and the conflict spread wide into the other breakaway regions in Georgia.
Russia and Georgia had signed the peace deal and Moscow vowed to withdraw its troops by Friday. Russia, however, says there could be no talk of territorial integrity of Georgia.
Mgaloblishvili added Georgia would have serious discussions with Moscow that would include discussion about the Caucasus mechanism and the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia once the withdrawal of Russian troops completes and peace and stability ensured.
â€œAfter occupying forces leave and all of those people who were forced out of their houses go back, then we will start talking and discussing future probabilities and possibilities. But again, I can assure that the territorial integrity of Georgia will maintain,â€ he said.
MOSCOW ALSO REJECTS
Russia also ruled out the possibility of holding talks with Georgia under the circumstances.
The conflict had proved that the political landscape in the region would change. Turkey faces a tough task in ensuring a balanced policy for the neighboring region between pro-West Georgia and its energy partner Russia.
A Russian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier Moscow had not yet given an official response and was still discussing the proposal, TDN reported.
The same official made clear, however, that Russia would not sit at the negotiating table with the current leadership in Georgia.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had visited Georgia, Russia and Azerbaijan, and said all of them extended their support to the idea. Ankara also plans to include Armenia in the platform.
Turkey said it would hold talks with Armenia, a country it does not have diplomatic relations, an attempt welcomed by Yerevan. Besides the problems between Georgia and Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan also have problematic relations with Armenia.
Given the outlook of the region, Turkey’s initiative seems to be nothing but a mission impossible.
TURKISH FM CALLS LAVROV
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan telephoned his Russian counterpart and conveyed a set of proposals as part of Turkey’s efforts to ease tensions in the Caucasus, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
“In a telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Mr. Babacan conveyed to the Russian side our concrete proposals about a platform for cooperation and stability in the Caucasus,” Burak Ozuergin said.
The spokesman said Turkish and Russian diplomats would meet next week to work on the issue, and added the two ministers had agreed to meet again early in September.hurriyet, Voice of a Nation