BACKGROUND: Excerpts of Medvedev speech on Abhkazia, S. Ossetia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev formally
recognized Georgia's rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent
on August 26. In a televised speech, he told Russians:
"You are no doubt well aware of the tragedy of South Ossetia. The night-time execution-style bombardment of Tskhinvali by the Georgian troops resulted in the deaths of hundreds of our civilians, dpa reported.
The Georgian leadership, in violation of the
UN Charter and their obligations under international agreements and contrary to
the voice of reason, unleashed an armed conflict victimizing innocent
civilians. The same fate once lay in store for Abkhazia.
In 1991, President Gamsakhurdia of Georgia, having proclaimed the motto 'Georgia for Georgians' ordered attacks on the cities of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali.
And it was Russia who at that time put an end to the eradication of the Abkhaz and Ossetian peoples.
The Georgian leadership chose another way.
We repeatedly called for returning to the negotiating table and did not deviate from this position even after the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo's independence.
Our persistent proposals to the Georgian side to conclude agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the non-use of force remained unanswered. They were ignored also by NATO and even at the United Nations.
Tbilisi made its choice during the night of August 8, 2008.
The peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have several times spoken out in referendums in favor of independence for their republics.
The presidents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia appealed to Russia to recognize the state sovereignty of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Considering the will of the Ossetian and Abkhaz peoples and being guided by the provisions of the UN Charter, the 1970 Declaration on the Principles of International Law Governing Friendly Relations Between States, the CSCE Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and other fundamental international instruments, I have signed decrees on the recognition by the Russian Federation of South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence.
Russia calls on other states to follow its example."