'Arab countries understand Russia's action in Georgia'

ABU DHABI — Andrey Zakharov, Russian Ambassador to the UAE, yesterday expressed his confidence that the Arab countries, including the GCC countries, would understand the reasons behind the Russian actions in Georgia to stop the ethnic cleansing against civilians.

By M. A. Qudoos

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Published: Sat 30 Aug 2008, 1:13 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:11 PM

"I have not heard any Arab voices opposing the Russian step," he said.

"At the Russian embassy, we are open for dialogue and we are ready to meet any one to explain our position," he told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview, adding that the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry explained the country's position well.

"Russia has recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, mindful of its responsibility for ensuring the survival of their fraternal people in the face of aggressive, chauvinistic policy pursued by Tbilisi," he said.

He said that the decision was taken following appeals of the two peoples, the parliaments and presidents of both republics, the opinion of the Russian people and both chambers of federal assembly and the president of the Russian Federation.

"Russia has sincere, good and friendly feelings towards the Georgian people, and is confident that Georgia will eventually find worth leaders who would be able to show proper concern over their country and develop mutually respectful, equal, and good-neighbourly relations with all the peoples of the Caucasus," adding that Russia will stand ready to contribute to this in every way.

Earlier, addressing a Press conference at the embassy, Zakharov said his country does not seek any confrontation with West due to unfolding Georgian crisis. He added that "Russia will not accept resumption of Cold War and is keen on sustenance of dialogue and cooperation with US and EU.

He wondered about the EU and US attitudes on denying the Russian stance over recognition of the independence of the two republics, while they insisted on the independence of Kosovo, which they immediately recognised.

"We are not for confrontation with West, but keen for world peace and determined to protect Russia and its citizens", the Russian envoy added.

He noted that the Russian Army had intervened into Georgia in the wake of massacres inflicted by the Georgian Army on Ossetian capital, in which over 2,000 civilians and 100 Russian soldiers were killed.

"Russia will not tolerate any threat to its sovereignty, or dignity of Russian Army, or citizens wherever they are. We are not against sovereignty of Georgia over its land, but we endeavour to consolidate sovereignty of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia", he said.

The Russian official warned that Russia would block any Western sanctions against it, adding that Russia has a right to defend Caucus peoples against any aggression .

qudoos@khaleejtimes.com



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