TEHRAN (FNA)- Georgian Ambassador to Iran Levan Asatiani praised Iran’s position which had called on Georgia and Russia to stop war and settle the conflict over South Ossetia peacefully.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s position on this crisis was very important to us and we appreciate Iran’s effort in asking the sides to declare a ceasefire and to start negotiation to resolve the problems,” Asatiani told the Islamic republic news agency in an interview published on Wednesday.
The remarks came as Russia and Georgia fought a short but tough war over South Ossetia. Along with Georgia’s other breakaway region, Abkhazia, South Ossetia has enjoyed de facto independence since the early 1990s, but Tbilisi has never recognized the loss of its territory.
Russian military convoys rolled out of three key positions in Georgia and headed toward Moscow-backed separatist regions on Friday in a significant withdrawal two weeks after thousands of troops roared into the former Soviet republic.
Calling Iran a “friend”, the ambassador said, “We have repeatedly witnessed Iran’s good intention and official position on recognizing the borders and sovereignty of Georgia.”
He also went on to reiterate that separatist efforts by the South Ossetians provoked a response from Georgia in form of an attack. The ambassador added Georgia had no way other than resolving the crisis, otherwise its territorial integrity would have been jeopardized.
Asatiani interpreted the swift response from Russia in deploying 50,000 troops and 1200 tanks in the region as a pre-planned scheme by Moscow for a military action.
He put the blame on Russia for “violating the present ceasefire” and noted, “Currently 100,000 new homeless people are added to the previous ones.”
The ambassador said the purpose behind NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels was “to force Russia to retreat from Georgia”.
Asked about his prediction of developments in the region in the future, Asatiani said, “The future will only be determined by starting negotiations and negotiations will begin only after the Russian forces have retreated from Georgia.”