Dmitry Medvedev believes Mikhail Saakashvili deserves international tribunal

MOSCOW, August 5 (Itar-Tass) — On the threshold of the 3rd anniversary of the Georgia war, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke about the political outcome of this event. On Thursday, he gave an interview to two Russian and one Georgian media. He recalled the events of August 2008, stating that Russia will not bargain with Georgia on accession to the WTO, and wished the Georgian president to finish his career in the status of a defendant at an international tribunal. The RF president also said that in his opinion, there are no legal prerequisites for South Ossetia’s accession to Russia, thus responding to a recent statement on this matter made by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The interview’s full version will be released on Friday, Kommersant stresses. However, it follows from what was reported by news agencies on Thursday, that the Russian-Georgian relations are far from cloudless. For example, Dmitry Medvedev openly advocated an international tribunal for Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili, making a reservation however, that this is unlikely because of the position of several countries. “If you asked for my personal opinion, I would say yes, because I think what has happened was a flagrant violation of international laws.” Medvedev noted. “However, it would not be possible to rely on Russia’s position alone in this matter, so the creation of such a tribunal is impossible.” According to him, Saakashvili will ultimately by judged by history, and in the shorter-term perspective – by Georgia’s voters.

The Russian president also touched upon the issue of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that has been relevant recently. The newspaper noted that Georgia that is a member of this organisation does not give its consent for the accession of the Russian Federation, insisting that Georgian border guards should be placed on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or at least international organisations. In the view of Medvedev, this obstacle can be overcome. But it is not Moscow, but Tbilisi that should make concessions here. The chances are rather high. “If the Georgian authorities show wisdom in this case…

I think it could become a point of contact between our countries, if not quite a turning point in our relations. We could use it to re-establish trade and economic relations and after that, we may go on to our diplomatic relations. Let me remind you that we were not the ones to sever our diplomatic relations in the first place. That was initiated by Georgia. That would be good, but the ball is in their court,” noting that the WTO issue will not be subject of political bargaining with Georgia.

Separately and very toughly Dmitry Medvedev commented on the July resolution of the US Senate that stressed the need to respect the territorial integrity and independence of Georgia and condemned Russia’s actions in violation of this integrity. “These statements are unfounded. They reflect the preferences of certain senior citizens in the Senate who, due to non-objective reasons, have aligned themselves with certain individuals. That’s completely up to them. We are talking about a foreign parliament and I do not much care about how they phrase their statements,” Medvedev said.

The president cut short speculation about the accession of South Ossetia to Russia, Kommersant added. After Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made it clear that it’s up to the South Ossetian people, some politicians in Tskhinval expressed optimism about such prospect. However, Dmitry Medvedev put a period to this matter. At least for a while. “There is no legal precondition for this as of now,” he said.

First, President Eduard Kokoity, and later chairman of the parliament Stanislav Kochiyev made statements that the future of South Ossetia is in alliance with Russia, Vedomosti writes. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday even encouraged Ossetians, saying that if the republic wants unification it should struggle for it.

South Ossetia has to choose between sovereignty and security: entering into an alliance with Russia or even joining it as an entity will protect the republic against external threats and possible changes in Russia’s policy, says local political scientist Inal Pliyev. It is absolutely impossible for political reasons, said MP and political scientist Sergei Markov ruling out such a scenario. President Kokoity only spoke about the state’s development vector, his spokesman Vyacheslav Sedov noted.

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