Georgian FM: S. Caucasus states still face great danger

Georgian FM: S. Caucasus states still face great danger

USA, Washington, Feb.19 / Trend special correspondent L. Katyk /

The South Caucasus states are still facing great danger, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze believes.

"If not military, then political confrontation risk remains in the South Caucasus," Vashadze said, speaking at a conference "U.S. strategy towards the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies - Washington's leading think tank on Friday.

Assessing Georgia's international position, Vashadze stressed that his country has managed to solve the problems in relations with all neighbors, except Russia.
He said Georgia is becoming "a success story."

"And if you exclude Russia, and what happened to it is a tragedy, I must say that we have achieved impressive results in order to solve the problems with the neighbors," Vashadze said.

According to Vashadze, Georgia is approaching the milestone when the country will have no problems with neighbors.

Vashadze believes that Russian pressure on Georgia has taught Tbilisi "to look for friends far away."

"We have never wanted to go to distant places of the world and we haven't thought that we will work with Africa, Latin America and Asia," Vashadze said. "After 2008, we started doing it, and I am very grateful to our Russian teachers for it."

According to the Georgian Minister's assessment, the U.S. is too busy with its problems, but yet Russia is too interested in the South Caucasus region.

"Whether you like it or not, Russia is a great part of the Caucasus, and, naturally, it has national interests there. We would like to see the Russian side's respect to our national interests, our sovereignty and independence and rights for all South Caucasus states to choose their own future without external interference," Vashadze said.

However, he said, the region's peoples remain hostages of mythology, which they devised for themselves.

"We are hostages of the view that everything bad that happened to us, was imposed on us by a third party, and the nations, inhabiting the South Caucasus are not guilty in our problems," he said.

Vashadze said that Georgia is closely watching developments in the North Caucasus.

"We are carefully monitoring the situation in the North Caucasus, but we don't take any provocative actions. We do not want to participate in developments, because we know there is a war in the North Caucasus," Vashadze said.

According to Vashadze, this war will not stop for a day, while the Georgians are afraid of this and are ready to do everything to prevent it.

"We have introduced visa-free regime for citizens of the North Caucasus, but no crimes had been committed by residents of the North Caucasus, when they came to Georgia after we removed the visa regime, and now 900 cars daily cross the border," Vashadze said.

He said that "the more Russia brings troops into the region without proper strategy for employment and education, without religious freedom and human rights, the more the situation becomes dangerous."

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