Gisteren vertelde Alexander Stubb: voorzitter van de Organisatie voor Veiligheid en Samenwerking in Europa, op de BBC World Service wat hij zag in de Georgische stad Gori:
Russian emergency ministry troops brought in 2 lorries full of elderly people, elderly Georgians from Southern-Ossetia who'd been torn away from their homes, basically sitting there on the street with all of their belongings, so this is the type of post-conflict activity which I don't like at all. They're clearly trying to empty Southern-Ossetia from Georgians, which I don't think goes by any of the books that we deal with in international relations.
De BBC vroeg een reactie aan de Zuid-Ossetische overheid en kreeg die van Kostic Chochiev: raadgever van de Zuid-Ossetische president. Let vooral op de allerlaatste zin:
We can not be sure that Mr. Stubb got the right information. We know that Georgian TV has been showing the ruins of skin valley, claiming them to be the images of the ruins of Gori: a Georgian town. There have been ethnic Georgians in South-Ossetia and some still remain. No one is forcing them out of their homes and there is no violence against them. But the Ossetian army has expelled Georgian militants from our territory.
- So the elderly people that many reporters have seen in Gori, elderly ethnic Georgians who say they where thrown out of their homes, driven from their homes inside South-Ossetia, they aren't telling the truth?
It's possible that the Georgians have staged a show for the benefit of foreign journalists. There's been no violence towards Georgian civilians in South-Ossetia. Moreover, the president of South-Ossetia: Eduard Kokoity, has issued a special decree for the army to be very careful with the population of the Georgian villages. To avoid all actions that could be interpreted as violence against civilians.
- Mr. Chochiev, can I ask you very specifically now from the president's office the message would go to ethnic Georgians who perhaps have fled, that they would be welcome to return?
The question of the return of ethnic Georgians will be decided on a case by case basis. We won't allow back individuals who have committed crimes against Ossetians. But those who have not committed any crimes, can expect permission to return.
- Let me also ask you about those who may still be inside South-Ossetia, the ethnic Georgians. From the president's office: they are safe, they must be allowed to stay if they are not militant.
They are completely safe. They are under the protection of our state. South-Ossetia guarantees the safety of everyone who recognizes it's independence.