US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov clashed on Monday over
Georgia and Moldova at the OSCE foreign ministers' meeting.
At a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Brussels, Burns called
on Russia to complete the withdrawal of its troops from Georgia and
Moldova, prompting a sharp rebuttal from Lavrov.
Burns warned that the two ex-Soviet states will remain unstab as
long as support for separatist regimes continues from outside.
He called for full support for Georgia and Moldova saying that
maintaining forces in another country against its will goes against
the spirit of a 21st-century Europe.
In response Lavrov said all OSCE members must refrain from
fueling instability in neighboring countries, urging the OSCE not
to make one-sided efforts to force through "politicized solutions"
to long-lasting disputes in ex-Soviet republics.
He said that this would lead to exacerbation of tensions and
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht, the OSCE
chairman-in-office, said "frozen conflicts" could not be definitely
resolved in Brussels.
"It would not be reasonable to give the impression that
solutions to frozen conflicts, which have taken up most of our time
in the presidency, can be found here in Brussels," de Gucht
"I call on each of you, starting with the principle
protagonists, to use the opportunity of this meeting to relaunch
negotiations that have been interrupted," he added.
The two-day meeting focuses on conflicts in South Caucasus and
improving efficiency of the OSCE.
The OSCE, a leading international security organization founded
in 1973, is concerned particularly with conflict prevention,
election observing, crisis management and rehabilitation of
(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2006)