Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday slammed the statement made by US President George W. Bush on the conflict between Russia and Georgia, saying facts mentioned in the speech are untrue, Russian news agencies reported.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for an EU Troika-Russia meeting at the European Council in Luxembourg in this April 29, 2008 file photo. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
"I listened to George Bush's statement -- and was surprised -- the facts he cited are untrue," Lavrov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying. He flatly denied the claims of the US president that Russian troops had blocked Georgia's Black Seaport of Poti.
The Russian top diplomat said Bush did not mention the arming of Georgia in recent years, including by the United States, which also trained Georgian troops.
"No mention was made about what happened on Aug. 8, when Western leaders fell silent while Tskhinvali was shelled and bombed," Lavrov said, adding that there was also no mention of Russia's efforts to broker a ceasefire deal between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi.
Washington will have to choose between cooperation with Russia and a "virtual project" described Georgian leadership, Lavrov said.
"We understand that the United States is concerned about the fate of this project, but the United States will have to choose between defending its prestige over a virtual project or real partnership which requires joint action," he said.
Bush said earlier Wednesday that he is sending Secretary of State Rice to France and Georgia to discuss efforts to halt the conflicts between Georgia and Russia. He demanded Russian troops now in Georgia must withdraw and reiterated that the United States strongly supports the Georgian government.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)