Ahmadinejad Blames Georgia Crisis on Western Powers

A01688337.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday blamed foreign interference for the crisis in Georgia and called on regional powers to come to a peaceful resolution.

“The problem is due to interference from outside the region, and it is also due to the actions of Georgian leaders. We believe that if other countries did not interfere, then the peoples of this region would live peacefully,” Ahmadinejad said.

“We think Georgia’s leaders should be more in control of the situation and they should stop countries from outside the region from interfering,” Ahmadinejad added, calling on “all countries from outside the region not to interfere and countries in the region to resolve these issues.”

Earlier Thursday, he lashed out at NATO expansion plans in the former Soviet Union, which have been blamed for raising tensions between Russia and its ex-Soviet neighbors including pro-Western Georgia.

“Some Western powers, by encouraging certain political forces and countries and calling on them to join military agreements, are harming integration in the region and are creating tension in relations between neighboring countries,” Ahmadinejad said.

“This is how they pave the way for political and military influence… and unfortunately their unilateral actions are continuing,” he added.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional grouping consisting of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Iran, Pakistan, Mongolia and India hold observer status in SCO, which was founded in 2001 as a counterweight to NATO in the strategic Central Asian region.

The summit in the Tajik capital Dushanbe has been overshadowed by Russia’s armed conflict with Georgia, which has provoked a standoff between Moscow and the West that is stoking fears of a new Cold War.

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