Marat Kulakhmetov: «I see only one way out, only one solution – to sit down at the negotiating table and to resume the dialog»

Sat, 12/07/2008 - 14:23

«The peacekeeping contingent is fulfilling its duties in existing format. There are some new nuances but the work is going on»-stated to mass media the Commander of Joint Peacekeeping Forces in Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone major-general Marat Kulakhmetov.
Commenting the situation created lately in the conflict zone the Commander o JPKF stated that «it began on 3 July when two diversion and terrorist acts was committed
within a day and lately a tension increased after commitment of Georgia’s MIA armed structures to the vicinity of Eredvi and Sarabuk. Later on the situation graduated to the mortar bombardment of the town and the serious clashes at southern and south-eastern suburbs of Tskhinval. The upper permissible limit is broken and there is an artificial overstating of the admissible point, what have been usually avoided by the conflict sides. This in its turn forces an opposite side to response. The mortar shelling on 3 July as though broke the fragile balance between the sides. And the shelling was obviously of prevocational and well-planned character at that».
Marat Kulalakhmetov mentioned the behavior of the officers of JKF Georgian part, what resulted in further tension. «Approximately 50 minutes before the shelling the officers of Georgian part of Joint Headquarters left the JPKF location. Their following actions were of specific tendencies: at first provocation of Ossetian side and then a sharp fire response. Such tactics was systematically used during last two days at Eredvi, Nikozi and Georgian Prisi».
Mentioning a detention of four Georgian military servicemen by RSO law enforcement organs on 8 of July the commander said that «on 8 July RSO law enforcement organs detained four Georgian military servicemen who in a state of intoxication found themselves at South Ossetian territory. The following events were unprecedented. Approximately at 15:00 I had a telephone conversation with the Head of peacekeeping operations of Georgia’s Defense Ministry general Mamuka Kurashvili. According to him he was at the Georgia’s Defense Minister Office with a specific instruction of the Minister – «if South Ossetian side will not release Georgian military servicemen till 18:00 we will start the war». I asked him if he realized the significance of the question and if he was in authority to make such statements, if Georgia was prepared to start the war for four drunkards’ sake. Mamuka Kurashvili responded literally the following: «I am at the Minister of Defense Office and pass you the decision of the Minister».
«I was obliged to inform JCC co-chairman, OSCE Mission and the appropriate sides of the extremely serious stand of Georgian side. After that during several hours Georgian side have been conducting measures, showing their readiness to the military operation. For example all rent channels of communication in my office were switched off. It is very serious precedent. At 20:30 the problem was solved – Georgian militaries were released. Then after I had to negotiate with Georgian side to reduce the tension».

- What is the format of the work with the Georgian peacekeepers?

There are some alterations in their duties. Presently at the territory of Joint Headquarters there is no Georgian unit, which moved to the Nikozi village. The soldiers and officers, JPKF observers are at the posts, including the Russian ones. The work is going on. Undoubtedly this makes a discomfort.
The fact of withdrawal of Georgian unit from the JH territory appraises by the South Ossetian side as a preparation to war. South Ossetian population can not perceive it in other way. Georgian side claims that in near future the problem will be solved. But I do realize this is an artificial foot-dragging and can not be contributive for the situation.

- How one can perceive the demarche of Georgian side and the developments at strategic Sarabuk height?

The actions of Georgian side at the Sarabuk height undoubtedly aimed at the breakage of the upper permissible limit. The unilateral actions of Georgian side conducted in this direction no doubt are illegal and have seriously deteriorated the situation. Presently in that direction are the peacekeeping forces of Georgia and the peacekeeping forces of JPKF North-Ossetian battalion.

- What is your opinion about the developments in near future?

I think the reason will prevail and the sides will sit down at the negotiating table. The present events lead to the beginning of aggression and armed confrontation. The fortifications are being constructing. Unfortunately this tendency is not optimistic. I see only one way out, only one solution – to sit down at the negotiating table and to resume the dialog. Unfortunately this is not done, mainly by the Georgian side.

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