Nikolai Bordyuzha, Secretary General of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization: Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan), has called on both sides of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict to refrain from the use of force.
"The situation on the Georgian-South Ossetian administrative border is threatening to snowball out of control and lead to an armed conflict, to unpredictable developments in the region," runs Bordyuzha's statement circulated in Moscow.
He emphasized that all issues pertaining to Georgia's relations with South Ossetia should only be solved peacefully.
"Ultimatums, threats or, moreover, the use of force, including against peacekeeping divisions deployed there can have the most negative consequences for the situation in the Caucasus," the statement says.
"We are calling on the conflicting sides to refrain from the use of force and to find, through a political dialogue, a constructive decision meeting the interests of security and stability in the region," the document runs.
Meanwhile, Georgian State Security Minister Vano Merabishvili has stated that Georgia has averted a new armed conflict in the Tskhinvali district (i.e. South Ossetia).
"We had the information that Eduard Kokoity (president of the self-proclaimed republic) planned to organize provocations on July 7 and 8 but what happened was more than we had expected. However, despite the repeated armed clashes, we have managed to avoid bloodshed and new confrontation between the Georgians and the Ossetians," Merabishvili said at a live briefing in Georgia.
"Kokoity is ready for war, he has weapons and medicines but Georgia is not going to fight against the Ossetians," he continued.
In his words, "the Russian Federation's official position on the Tskhinvali district does not coincide with Kokoity's plans, therefore he has nothing to do but organize provocations."
The Georgian minister told reporters that all the Georgian military subdivisions had been ordered not to use weapons. "This is why Ossetian armed formations managed to take hostage up to 50 our servicemen," he said.
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