No talks with S. Ossetia "alternative gov't" - Russian diplomat
23/04/2007 18:50 MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will not hold talks with the "alternative government" of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, a Russian deputy foreign minister said Monday.
In a bid to regain control over the region, lost after the demise of the Soviet Union, Georgia has formed an "alternative government" in the self-proclaimed republic following an alternative poll in Georgian-populated villages of South Ossetia November 12.
The move was a response to the republic's presidential election, held along with a referendum to reaffirm its independence on the same day.
"Certainly, we will not [hold talks]. We were not born yesterday and know scenarios for resolving conflict situations," Grigory Karasin told Georgian journalists.
He said Georgian authorities were striving to create an artificial formation in the region instead of negotiating with the conflict side.
"The 'alternative government' is being proactively touted. They will later start bringing foreign officials there, and at a certain moment they will say this is the genuine side in the conflict and all others are not. In this way, they will turn this puppet government into the main party," the diplomat said.
Karasin said the danger is that forming such structures would completely undermine trust with the current governments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another separatist region in Georgia.
South Ossetia broke away together with Abkhazia in the 1990s following bloody conflicts, and Russian peacekeepers have been stationed in the conflict zones ever since, angering Tbilisi, which has accused Moscow of fuelling separatist sentiment there.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said an interdepartmental working group heads for Georgia Monday to discuss the situation.
The group, led by an aide to the prime minister, includes the head of the Russian side in the Joint Control Commission, representatives of the Russian Security Council, health ministry and other bodies.
The group is to visit South Ossetia to inspect socially important infrastructure facilities being built in the conflict zone under Russia's aid program.
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