Ambassador to Russia reproached for ministry statement concerning Georgia

  • 2006-03-01
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Ambassador in Moscow Rimantas Sidlauskas was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry over Moscow's irritation with a statement issued last week by Lithuania's Foreign Ministry on Russian-Georgian relations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Feb. 28 that the meeting "stressed that Russia considers the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry statement as unacceptable interference into our relations with Tbilisi. It was stated that such innuendos do not promote constructive Russian-Lithuanian relations."

On Feb. 22, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over tension in Georgia.

The ministry issued a statement citing the cessation of issuing new visas to Georgians, violations of Georgian airspace and Russia's refusal to go to the Vienna talks of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe over settlement of the South Ossetian conflict as an "inadequate reaction" to a "sovereign country's objective to ensure its territorial integrity."

Georgia had every right to raise the issue of efficient peacekeeping operations on its territory at the OSCE meeting.

Peacekeepers of the Commonwealth of Independent States, most of them Russian, have been sent to the regions of Abkhasia and South Ossetia that declared independence from Georgia.

"We urge Russia to terminate unfriendly actions against its neighbor state and start a constructive dialogue with Georgia. We hope that Georgia's efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully will be supported by the whole international community," said the statement from Vilnius.

The statement came after the Russian Embassy in Georgia's consular department terminated the issuing of entry visas to Georgian citizens - a response to the country's actions against Russian troops. Russia has also suggested postponing Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli's visit to Russia, which is scheduled for Feb. 26-27.

Relations between Georgia and Russia worsened considerably after the Georgian parliament last week decided to replace Russia's peacekeepers in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone with international forces and qualified Russia's actions in the region as "annexation" of a part of its territory