5 May 2009
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

PRESS CONFERENCE BY GEORGIA

 


The statement made yesterday by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation that “a build up of Georgian troops and police units is going on, heavy weapons, armoured vehicles and artillery are being deployed” was “yet another example of Soviet-era propaganda”, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations said during a press conference this afternoon.


Alexander Lomaia said that the assessment of the Russian Federation’s Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, was not factual and “its sole purpose was to mislead the international community, as well as Russia’s own population”.  He appealed to the international community to be more attentive and to adequately assess recent declarations by high-level Russian officials that aimed to discredit Georgia, mislead the world community and aggravate the tense situation in the occupied territories and beyond.


In contrast to the version of the facts offered by his Russian counterpart, he said the Russian Federation had been consistently increasing the size of its forces and heavy armoured equipment in the occupied territories of Georgia.  It had also illegally deployed hundreds of so-called “border guards” on the administrative border lines of the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia.  Elsewhere, Russian naval forces had conducted wide-scale maritime military exercises and manoeuvres in the immediate vicinity of Georgian territorial waters.


“These military moves by Russia are disrespectful of United Nations Security Council resolution 1866,” he said, referring to the resolution adopted unanimously on 13 February 2009 that extended the mandate of the current United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 15 June.  Among other things, the resolution also called for the provisions that were set out in paragraph 2(a) of the Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces signed in Moscow on 14 May 1994 (S/1994/583) to be respected, pending consultations and agreement on a revised security regime and taking note of the recommendations on the security regime contained in the Secretary-General’s report of 4 February 2009.


Responding to a question on an alleged attempted coup against the Georgian Government earlier today, he said his Government shared the analysis of the United States Defense Department that the mutiny had been an isolated incident.  It had ended peacefully and the officers involved had surrendered.  “We see no signs of any moves that would cause any aggravations in this regard,” he said.


Asked about the earlier statement by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili that the attempted mutiny was “rooted in Russian money or Russian actions to destabilize Georgia” and whether, in his assessment, it seemed as if the Kremlin was trying push its own Rose Revolution on Tbilisi, he said that, since Georgia was in the early stages of investigating the incident, he would abstain from linking it to any foreign sources.


It was known, however, that the organizers had said that their primary purpose was to disrupt the Partnership for Peace exercises of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) scheduled for tomorrow, he continued.  It would also come as no surprise if there was a specific connection to a country whose leaders had made no secret of their plan to destabilize and dismember Georgia.


When asked, he said he could not give any numbers on the people arrested, but said the battalion involved was not supposed to take part in the NATO exercises.


Asked if the burden of the decision by Armenia to withdraw from the NATO exercises should be put on another “large country in the area”, he said there had been reports that Russia was putting pressure on some of its neighbours, such as Kyrgyzstan, regarding NATO matters.  In light of that pattern, his Government would not be surprised if its northern neighbours were pressuring its southern neighbours.


In response to the observation that Russian Ambassador Churkin had been widely praised by former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze as a “media professional”, he said that his description of the Ambassador’s comments as propaganda was not an overstatement, nor did it have to with the personalities involved.  It was simply a response to the tone of the Russian official’s comments over the last few months.  That tone seemed reminiscent of Soviet propaganda, since it was neither grounded in hard facts, nor substantiated.  Rather, it was meant to divert attention from the establishment of military installations within the occupied territories.


Reminded that his predecessor, former Permanent Representative Irakli Alasania, had returned to Georgia and subsequently denounced what he had been saying at the United Nations as following the presidential line of propaganda, he said the former Ambassador had never denounced any of his statements regarding the Russian invasion and occupation of the territories.  “He never questioned the fact that Russia invaded our country,” he said.


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For information media • not an official record