Russian MFA Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko Commentary in Connection with US President George Bush’s Statement on South Ossetia
Moscow has taken serious notice of the statement of US President George Bush, made on August 13 at the White House on the situation in the South Caucasus. First of all, we would like to stress that we welcome the support expressed by the US President for the accords worked out with the participation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have already signed these accords, designed, above all, to prevent a resumption of hostilities. Georgia has still not affixed its signature to them.
As to the intention declared by the US President to provide aid to conflict victims, this step is undoubtedly justified in the light of the scale of the humanitarian tragedy caused by the Georgian side’s actions; the international community should not remain indifferent to this tragedy. Russia has already launched a massive operation to overcome the consequences of this humanitarian catastrophe, and will deliver its humanitarian aid to all those in need.
It is regrettable, however, that the American side continues to refuse to recognize the real cause of what happened, consisting in that the regime of Mikhail Saakashvili had in violation of all its international commitments unleashed the war against the South Ossetian people.
Russia, which has helped stop this war and force the Georgian authorities to peace, mourns over those killed during the conflict, paying a tribute to the memory of all who paid a terrible price for the criminal adventure of the Saakashvili regime. Neither should it be forgotten that also those bear responsibility for what happened who for the sake of realizing their political projects had for many years armed and trained the Georgian army and developed in the Tbilisi regime a complex of all-permissiveness and impunity.
We presume that the United States in all its actions at this key stage from the viewpoint of establishing peace in the region will show a responsible approach and real interest in overcoming the grave humanitarian consequences of the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. It is particularly important to refrain from any steps which could directly or indirectly be regarded by the present Georgian leadership as an encouragement of its revenge-seeking ambitions and might lead to a repetition of the tragic scenario. And, of course, it is necessary to be guided in assessments by real facts, not the lies circulated by undiscriminating media that are being abundantly churned out by Tbilisi.
The tragedy of South Ossetia should not recur. We expect all our partners to show responsibility and a real desire to avert new bloodshed in the South Caucasus. In this region, where Russia historically plays a special role, our aims are clear and transparent. Using all the resources available to us, we will seek to ensure peace, stability and prosperity there on a long-term basis.
August 14, 2008