Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues Merab Antadze said the March 25 attack, which resulted in the deaths of two Georgians, in the South Ossetian conflict zone, has demonstrated once again that the de factor authorities in Tskhinvali “are disposed towards military escalation, rather than peace talks.”
Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi on March 26, Merab Antadze said that the attack was “a provocative act” masterminded by Russian agents operating in breakaway South Ossetia.
“The Georgian side will not yield to provocations of this kind and we will follow the peace process,” Antadze said.
The State Minister said that he had met with the head of the OSCE Mission in Georgia, Ambassador Roy Reeve, and “demanded that he immediately assess the [March 25] incident.”
Meanwhile, Antadze encouraged all parties to the conflict to sign a Tbilisi-proposed memorandum. He said the memorandum is based on Tbilisi’s peace plan which was approved by the Ljubljana OSCE Ministerial Council in 2005.
“The South Ossetia side has rejected the memorandum; the Russian side is so far refraining from any response,” Merab Antadze said.
He added that Dimitri Sanakoev, who is a self-declared leader of South Ossetia with the backing of Tbilisi, has approved the Tbilisi-proposed memorandum.
His support was welcomed by Antadze, who described him as “the leader of a movement, People of South Ossetia for Peace.”
This is a movement which Sanakoev launched on March 2, less than two weeks before President Saakashvili announced his readiness to hold official talks with Sanakoev. President Saakashvili met with Sanakoev in the latter’s office in the Georgian village of Kurta in the South Ossetian conflict zone on March 19.
“Sanakoev is ready to hold talks with all the parties involved with the eventual goal of resolving the conflict,” Antadze said.