Georgia suspends drone flights over Abkhazia

May 31st, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
United Nations, May 31 (RIA Novosti) Georgia has suspended its unmanned reconnaissance flights over Abkhazia, but could resume them in the event of a threat from the breakaway region. Speaking after the UN Security Council meeting on this issue, Georgia’s UN ambassador Irakly Alalsaniya Friday said Tbilisi had stopped flights following the UN report, but “it does not mean we will not use these military capabilities if a threat emanates from the region”.

An unmanned Georgian drone was shot down over Abkhazia last month by what a UN report said Monday was a Russian fighter, but Moscow has denied involvement.

The UN also criticised Georgia for carrying out reconnaissance flights over Abkhazia in breach of the terms of a ceasefire deal that ended the armed conflict in the early 1990s.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called Georgia’s decision “important” and the Security Council discussion conducive to consolidating the 1994 ceasefire agreement.

The Security Council ended its closed-door meeting without taking any action.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Georgia’s breaching of its obligations “should be dealt with first, as we must cure the disease, not its symptoms.”

He also said the Security Council meeting would be futile without Abkhazia’s participation.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia have remained a source of tension between the erstwhile Soviet neighbours. Tensions have also been fuelled by Georgian plans to join NATO and integrate into other Western structures pursued by Georgia, which is located on strategic routes for Caspian oil and gas.
RIA Novosti

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