Boycott 2014 Olympics in Russia: Shevardnadze

53_1.jpgGeorgia’s former president Eduard Shevardnadze said Russia will live to regret its recognition of rebel regions and called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in remarks published Thursday. 

Russia on Tuesday recognized the breakaway Georgian areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, despite strong Western objections, after sending troops into its southern neighbour.

 

Shevardnadze, who was also a foreign minister of the former Soviet Union, said that Moscow’s move would “encourage separatist movements within ethnically diverse Russia.”

 

Font:****”They will live to regret it,” Shevardnadze told Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

 

“This will lead to discussions to recognise the independence of Chechnya and Dagestan,” he added, referring to two regions in the Caucasus that have sought freedom from Russian rule for centuries.

 

Shevardnadze supported calls raised by some US lawmakers to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held on the Black Sea resort of Sochi, or to boycott the Games if they go ahead.

 

“Due to this military conflict, the reasons for a boycott are now more than ever,” Shevardnadze said.

 

The United States led a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Human rights groups also targeted this year’s Beijing Olympics.

 

Shevardnadze served for eight years as Georgia’s president before being ousted by current leader Mikheil Saakashvili in the bloodless Rose Revolution of 2003.

 

The former president accused his successor of being too close to the United States.

 

“In my era I built good relations with both Russia and the US, but this balance has crumbled,” he said.

 

He said Georgia was the clear loser from the current conflict, particularly as Russian forces were still in the Black Sea port of Poti.

 

Georgia has “virtually lost its territorial rights and the economic damage (from the conflict) is huge,” he said.

 

Source: AFP

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