Russia denies deal with Tbilisi on joint border control in Abkhazia, S.Ossetia


Russian Foreign Ministry has denied that an agreement had been reached with Georgia on joint control of the border between Russia and breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia . It has also denied assuring Tbilisi that Moscow would “never recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia .”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement on February 27 that the issue joint border control is being discussed in frames of the Georgian-Russian negotiation on Russia 's WTO-entry terms. “During these discussions we have made it clear from the very beginning that practical realization of customs control at the Gantiadi-Adler border crossing point [in Abkhazia] and at Roki [in South Ossetia] fully depends on the process of resolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts and on the consent of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, which are informed about our position. We hope that our Georgian partners also understand this very obvious fact,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

President Saakashvili said on February 26: “You know that we had negotiations with the Russian government and the Russian government agreed to joint control of Psou [at the Abkhaz-Russian border] and Roki Tunnel [at the South Ossetian-Russian border] – border crossing points and customs checkpoints there. We still don't have the technical details, how this measure will be implemented. But this is already a huge step forward and a breakthrough.”

He also said on the same day that separatist leaders had been left “empty-handed” as Russia did not recognize the breakaway regions following Kosovo's independence. In a separate remarks made on February 22, a day after his meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, Saakashvili said: “The Russian side indicated clearly that it would not recognize either South Ossetia or Abkhazia.”

“The issue of unresolved conflicts during the brief meeting of the [Georgian and Russian] Presidents has not been discussed in details and no “assurance” in this respect has been given [by Russia to Georgia],” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “In fact, the Russian side has confirmed that we would not ‘copy' illegal actions of some of the western states, but unilateral declaration and recognition of Kosovo's independence would be taken into consideration in our future policy. At the same time we have also noted that Russia would continue facilitate peaceful resolution of conflicts with taking into consideration opinion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia .”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that statements of the Georgian authorities, including those of President Saakashvili “creates deceptive view” as if Russia was striking “backstage deals” behind South Ossetia and Abkhazia.