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Russia renews call for arms embargo on Georgia

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Wednesday Russia’s call for a ban on the sale of offensive weapons to Georgia.

Prior to its offensive on South Ossetia on August 8, Georgia had been buying weapons and hardware from the United States, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other countries. Russia has also accused Ukraine of supplying Georgia with weapons. (Cache of Georgian arms found in Kodori Gorge – Image galleries)

“An embargo on arms deliveries to the current Georgian regime would be in principle an ideal solution to the security problem, and we are strongly convinced that an international ban on deliveries of offensive arms must be imposed as an emergency measure,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.

Russia is currently withdrawing its troops from undisputed Georgian territory, where they have been deployed since the conflict between Russia and Georgia triggered by Tbilisi’s attack on breakaway South Ossetia.

He said that with EU observers operating in the zone near South Ossetia and Abkhazia, international talks in Geneva on October 15 should discuss specific steps that have to be taken to prevent further use of force in the region. The agenda for the talks includes the return of refugees to the region and security in the Caucasus.

European Union observers began their monitoring mission in Georgia on October 1. Two hundred observers from 22 member states are monitoring the withdrawal of Russian forces from buffer zones near South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia has agreed to pull all its peacekeepers out of the zones by Friday.

Lavrov said a special regime must be established and observed in areas adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia that would avert provocations.

He also called for monitoring of Georgia’s compliance with its commitment under the peace plan to return its forces to their permanent bases.