There is no need for "new players and new parties" in the South Ossetian conflict resolution process, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, Russia's Ambassador to Georgia, said on July 4.
His comments are in response to Tbilisi's promotion of Dimitri Sanakoev, head of its loyal provisional administration in the region, whom they hope will have a say in the conflict resolution process.
"There are two internationally recognized sides in the conflict the Georgian side and the South Ossetian side," Kovalenko said, referring to the Georgian central authorities and secessionist authorities in Tskhinvali.
President Saakashvili, however, rejected the Russian ambassador's analysis. Speaking with members of the Tbilisi City Council, Sakrebulo, late on July 4, he said: "I am irritated by hearing the terms the South Ossetian side, the Georgian side."
"There is no 'South Ossetian side' or 'Georgian side' there is only the Georgian side and there are ethnic Ossetians and ethnic Georgians on the Georgian side," Saakashvili said.
His remarks reflect Tbilisi's attempts to portray the conflict in South Ossetia not as "an ethnic conflict," but rather as a conflict involving "criminal elements" in Tskhinvali being manipulated by "certain forces" in Russia.
Tbilisi's active and on-going promotion of Dimitri Sanakoev, an ethnic Ossetian and former defense minister in the secessionist South Ossetian government, is the most obvious manifestation of this view and policy.