VARIOUS: Russia's Asia allies fail to back Georgia action as France talks sanctions
- Title: VARIOUS: Russia's Asia allies fail to back Georgia action as France talks sanctions
- Date: 29th August 2008
- Summary: (BN10) PARIS, FRANCE (AUGUST 28, 2008) (REUTERS) FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER BERNARD KOUCHNER ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE JOURNALISTS SOUNDBITE (French) FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER BERNARD KOUCHNER SAYING: "The general reaction of the democratic world is not to accept this violence that has been committed against the Georgian people, nor that the recognition of the independence of these two parts of Georgian territory - Abkhazia and Ossetia - was decided with no consultation. Everyone agrees with this. But now we need time. Of course there are also sanctions. I don't want to talk about sanctions myself ahead of time, when the meeting itself has not taken place. But we are working with our 26 partners at this moment. Our diplomatic efforts aren't limited to holding conferences. We are working hard with the 26 European countries of whom, we have for the next four months, the presidency, and we are trying to elaborate a strong text that will show our determination not to accept (what is happening in Georgia). Now, sanctions are being considered, of course, they are being considered as well as other means." JOURNALISTS
- Reuters ID: LVA2Z67MSCS9T7BRLOLADC1X97Q6
- Duration: 00:01:23
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- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: Russia's President Medvedev fails in an attempt to get backing for Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
China expresses concern about the situation and France talks about possible sanctions against Russia.
A grouping of Russia's Asian allies expressed grave concern on Thursday (August 28) over tensions in Georgia but failed to give the Kremlin clear support in its stand-off with the West.
In a declaration signed by the leaders of China, Russia and four ex-Soviet Central Asian states, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), called for reconciliation and more talks.
President Dmitry Medvedev, condemned by the West for recognising two Georgian separatist regions as independent states, had hoped to drum up support for his action at the SCO summit in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe.
At the start of the summit, Medvedev told leaders from China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan that Russia's action was a legitimate response to "..irresponsible Georgian aggression against South Ossetia."
"Under these extraordinary circumstances we will continue to carrying out responsible politics in the region and we are grateful for your understanding and an objective assessment of Russia's peacekeeping efforts. We are sure that the position of SCO members will get an appropriate international response and I hope it will serve as a serious signal for those who is trying to portray black as white and to justify an aggression,"
Russia sent troops into Georgia this month to crush an attempt by the country's pro-Western leaders to retake the Moscow-backed separatist region of South Ossetia. Medvedev this week recognised South Ossetia and a second Georgian separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent states, defying the West which has said Georgia's sovereignty over its territory must be respected.
So far, no country, even close allies who often line up with Moscow against the West, has given explicit support for the Russian move.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference in Beijing on Thursday (August 28) China hoped the parties could resolve the issue through dialogue and consulation.
"China expresses its concerns about the latest changes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We understand the complex history and realities of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. At the same time, reflecting China's consistent stance on such issues, we hope all the parties can appropriately resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation," said Gang.
China has long sought closer diplomatic ties and energy cooperation with Russia. But mindful of its own disputes over Taiwan and other regions, Beijing has also opposed the break-up of states into smaller units.
In Paris, asked at a news conference about measures that could be taken against Russia over its refusal to pull back troops in Georgia, Kouchner said, "Sanctions are being considered. I don't want to talk about sanctions myself ahead of time, when the meeting itself has not taken place. But we are working with our 26 partners at this moment," Kouchner said.
Meanwhile in Vienna, Georgia's Foreign Minister on Wednesday (August 28) warned the Organisation of Security for Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of the possibility of the Georgian crisis repeating in Ukraine.
"The danger as we see it is coming very vividly with the same pattern in Ukraine as well, without any exaggeration. The first signs that we hear in Crimea is the same passportisation thing that we have experienced in Georgia," Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili told a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna,"said Ekaterine Theshelashvili, Georgia's Foreign Minister.
Ukraine's Crimean peninsula is home to a large Russian ethnic majority as well as the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Crimean port has been leased by the Russians until 2017 and Ukraine has threatened not to renew the lease.
Tkeshelasvili told the OSCE that the presence of the Russian military forces on the soil of Georgia was "absolutely intolerable" and called for complete withdrawal.
After the council's meeting on Wednesday Russia's ambassador told reporters that his country's coexistence in Georgia was now "impossible",
"We were forced to take this decision. We for 17 years have been appealing to the Georgian side, to solve this problem by political means and even till the last moment we appealed to restart the political dialogue with all the sides and parties concerned, so that the political solution could be found. But after, once again I repeat, after this act of aggression already it was impossible for coexistence of these three people in one state," Anvar Azimov said.
The crisis erupted this month when Georgian forces tried to retake the separatist province of South Ossetia and Russia launched an overwhelming counter-attack.
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