ISTANBUL, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister attacked Georgia Thursday by suggesting it was looking for a military solution to a long-running conflict with breakaway region of South Ossetia.
The comment came in response to Georgia's recent accusations against Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone in the unrecognized republic.
Sergei Lavrov said Georgia was impeding the work of Russian peacekeepers in the zone of the conflict, which dates back to the early 1990s, by allowing gross provocations.
"We view [these provocations] as an attempt to escalate the situation and, possibly, to create conditions for a military solution, which many politicians in Georgia have called for," the minister said.
Georgia said in May that Russian peacekeepers had been using an illegal border crossing point to carry out a rotation and had no Georgian visas. Russia dismissed the complaints, referring to a ceasefire agreement signed in 1992-93.
Lavrov said South Ossetia was an internationally recognized conflict zone, and any decisions on peacekeepers in the area were out of Georgia's competence.
"Although Russia respects the territorial integrity of all countries, including Georgia, we cannot but point out that Tbilisi does not have complete control over this zone yet," Lavrov said.
The Russian contingent is based in the area in accordance with a decision of the Joint Control Commission established to monitor ceasefire in the conflict zone, the minister said adding that Russia had notified Georgia about Russian peacekeepers' routine rotation in April and in May.
Under the ceasefire agreement, the conflict zone is guarded by Russian, South Ossetian and Georgian peacekeepers.
Lavrov also said Georgia had rotated its peacekeepers earlier, without warning the commission.
"Our call is to implement, together with South Ossetia and Georgia, proposals on the joint resolution of the conflict with the commission's approval," the minister said.
He added that this would be the only way to find a compromise and end the conflict.
"For this purpose, any attempts to politicize the situation in the region must be ended and we should honor our commitments on the agreements that have made it possible to ensure calm and peace in the region for many years," Lavrov said.
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