on the silk road


Gorbachev Says Georgia Started Conflict

 

(CNN) — Georgian leaders may be blaming Russia for the conflict raging in South Ossetia, but former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Thursday “there is no doubt” that Georgia provoked the clash.

Mikhail Gorbachev told CNN's Larry King that Russia called extra troops into Georgia to stem violence.

Mikhail Gorbachev told CNN’s Larry King that Russia called extra troops into Georgia to stem violence.

Gorbachev told CNN’s Larry King that Russia moved additional forces into South Ossetia in response to “devastation” in the South Ossetia city of Tskhinvali.

“This was the use of sophisticated weapons against a small town, against a sleeping people. This was a barbaric assault,” said Gorbachev, the last president of the former Soviet Union.

But Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who also appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Thursday, said he was “profoundly shocked” that Mikhail Gorbachev would use a television appearance “for basically vindicating lies and deceptions.”

Last week, Georgia said it launched an operation into South Ossetia after a cease-fire was broken with artillery fire from Russian separatists that killed 10 people including civilians and peacekeepers. It accused Russia, which also has peacekeepers in the region, of backing the separatists.

Hours later, the Russian news agency Interfax reported that Russian authorities said 10 Russian peacekeepers had been killed and 30 wounded in an attack by Georgians.

“Western television didn’t show what happened in Tskhinvali,” Gorbachev said. “Only now they’re beginning to show some pictures of the destruction. So this looks to me like it was a well-prepared project. And with any outcome, they wanted to put the blame on Russia.”

He called Georgia’s claims that Russia is attempting to dismantle its democracy “all lies from beginning to end.”

In response, Saakashvili expressed disappointment with the sentiments from Gorbachev, who he said he once respected.

“This is the man, Mr. Gorbachev, who helped to, you know, bring down KGB kingdom. And he is the one who is, you know, justifying what the KGB people are doing right now in my country,” Saakashvili said.

“Shame on him. Shame on you, Mr. Gorbachev, for perpetuating the very regime you helped to defeat and you fought against as the head of the Soviet Union.”

Gorbachev also said the United States is jeopardizing its fragile relationship with Russia by backing Georgia. Video Watch Gorbachev discuss U.S.-Russia relations »

“There is a chance for our two countries to develop a new agenda for cooperation so as to promote both U.S. and Russia interests, and the interests of other countries, and the interests of stability, particularly in the hotspots in different continents,” said Gorbachev, who won the Nobel Peace Price in 1990. 

 

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Yerevan Hopes For Quick End To Georgia Fighting

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian called on Thursday a rare meeting of Armenia’s National Security Council to reiterate his government’s concerns about the Russian-Georgian military conflict and praise international efforts to resolve it.

Sarkisian also reaffirmed Yerevan’s stated neutrality in the week-long dispute that will likely have far-reaching ramifications for regional security. Still, he seemed to blame Georgia for the outbreak of fighting in South Ossetia that provoked a harsh Russian retaliation. 

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Confidence Rises for Ossetia, Abkhazia After Fighting

MOSCOW (Reuters)–Georgia’s efforts to bring the breakaway region of South Ossetia to heel have backfired so drastically that it may have lost control of both it and rebel-held Abkhazia for good. Western diplomats and analysts said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has little hope of reasserting his authority in the two regions after his failed invasion of South Ossetia.

A ceasefire agreement to end nearly a week of fighting between Georgian and Russian troops has given a new sense of confidence to the separatists in Abkhazia, and in mountainous South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which hugs the Black Sea.

Sergei Shamba, the foreign minister of Abkhazia, told Reuters that Georgia should now accept it is a separate country.

“We have held talks with Georgia for 15 years and now we will only talk with them after recognition of our independence,” Shamba said. “There have been several drafts and they rejected them all. It’s clear to me that it’s pointless talking to them.”

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity made similar independence demands on Wednesday, Russian media reported.

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Confidence Rises for Ossetia, Abkhazia After Fighting

From Asbarez.com

MOSCOW (Reuters)–Georgia’s efforts to bring the breakaway region of South Ossetia to heel have backfired so drastically that it may have lost control of both it and rebel-held Abkhazia for good. Western diplomats and analysts said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has little hope of reasserting his authority in the two regions after his failed invasion of South Ossetia.

A ceasefire agreement to end nearly a week of fighting between Georgian and Russian troops has given a new sense of confidence to the separatists in Abkhazia, and in mountainous South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which hugs the Black Sea.

Sergei Shamba, the foreign minister of Abkhazia, told Reuters that Georgia should now accept it is a separate country.

“We have held talks with Georgia for 15 years and now we will only talk with them after recognition of our independence,” Shamba said. “There have been several drafts and they rejected them all. It’s clear to me that it’s pointless talking to them.”

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity made similar independence demands on Wednesday, Russian media reported.

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Erdogan Travels to Russia, Georgia for Talks

From Asbarez

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a visit to Russia and Georgia for talks over the conflict between the two countries, a statement from his press office said on Wednesday.

It said that he will meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow later Wednesday and with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi on Thursday.

“We believe the prime minister’s trips to Moscow and Tbilisi will contribute to securing a climate of sustainable peace and stability in the region,” the statement said.

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Yerevan Reaffirms Support For CIS

From Asbarez

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia reaffirmed its “long-term” commitment to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on Wednesday following neighboring Georgia’s decision to leave the Russian-led grouping of 12 former Soviet republics in protest against Russia’s military operations in Georgia.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced the move during a big rally in Tbilisi on Tuesday. “We are leaving the CIS for good and propose that other countries leave this body run by Russia,” he said, again accusing Moscow of unleashing a military aggression against his nation.

None of the other CIS countries, including those with uneasy relations with Russia, has headed Saakashvili’s call so far.

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Sarkisian Discusses Georgia Crisis With Russia’s Medvedev

From Asbarez

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Breaking his silence on the crisis in neighboring Georgia, President Serzh Sarkisian telephoned his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday to discuss the developments of the past week.

“During the phone conversation President Dmitry Medvedev briefed Serzh Sarkisian on the course of negotiations aimed at finding a way out of the situation,” the Armenian leader’s press office said in a statement. “The presidents of the two countries agreed to hold, if need be, additional consultations on further developments.”

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