US answers Russian demand for arms embargo
By Temuri Kiguradze
Friday, October 17Daniel Fried, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, has stated that he is “not quite sure” what Russia means by its demand for an arms embargo against Georgia.
Speaking in Geneva on October 15, the American diplomat said that “Given the overwhelming preponderance of the Russian force, the fact that the Russians announced that they are going to maintain troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in excess of what is allowed under the ceasefire [accords] – I am not sure I understand the basis for that kind of demand; that does not seem to be in the first line of practicality, given the Russian military domination, its preponderance of force.”
Fried stated that Russia showed “overwhelming military force” when it invaded Georgia. “If they [Russians] wish to lower tensions in the area they can adhere to all the terms of ceasefire and pull out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as they are supposed to do,” he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov appealed for an “urgent” international embargo on the supply of offensive arms to Georgia on October 8. Moscow has claimed that the embargo could bring peace to the conflict region.
“We consider that the ideal way to provide security in the region would have been to place an embargo on arms supply for the existing Georgian regime, and we deeply believe that an international prohibition on the supply of offensive weapons is needed as an urgent step now,” said Lavrov at a press conference in Moscow. He also said that an embargo would be discussed at the international talks in Geneva on October 15, which have now been postponed till October 18.
“According to the Medvedev-Sarkozy [ceasefire] agreement, this question [the embargo] is the most important issue for international discussions. I’m sure that as the EU monitoring mission in the regions bordering Abkhazia and South Ossetia has begun, we should discuss some concrete steps that would prevent the re-use of force in the region,” Sergey Lavrov stated.