Dushanbe: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev won a measure of support from Central Asian ally Tajikistan on Friday for Moscow’s actions over Georgia.
Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon said diplomatic solutions were best but expressed understanding for Russia’s actions after Moscow fought a brief war with its tiny southern neighbour Georgia.
Russian forces swept the Georgian army out of the rebel region of South Ossetia and are still occupying some areas of Georgia proper. On Tuesday, Moscow recognised the province and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
No other state has followed Moscow’s lead on recognising the breakaway Georgian areas, including Tajikistan. But Rakhmon said his country supported its ally on many issues.
“Without question this refers to a range of measures which Russia is undertaking in the Caucasus,” he said after signing a joint statement with Medvedev following bilateral talks in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.
“At the same time, diplomatic methods to resolve these questions are preferable,” he said, repeating a view taken on Thursday by fellow members of a regional grouping that includes Russia, China and three other Central Asian states.
For his part Medvedev expressed thanks for the “expressed understanding and support for Russia’s position” in defending its citizens and civilians in South Ossetia.
Georgia has accused Russia of seeking to annex its territory but Moscow says it only acted to prevent a Georgian “genocide” of civilians and to protect its nationals.
The United States and European Union have condemned Russia’s actions as disproportionate and demanded Moscow withdraw its forces from Georgia.