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Georgia ready for dialogue with Russia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, October 29
Almost simultaneously, the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili and Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze stated that Georgia is ready for dialogue with Russia without any reservations. Analysts think that those statements were the result of international pressure on Georgia and therefore it has to make certain moves however Russia also has to reconsider its position.

“Russia is the occupier but it is necessary to start negotiations with it,” stated Saakashvili at the Francophone summit. Despite the fact that Russian occupation resulted in people leaving their places of dwelling we have to resolve all problems through negotiations with Moscow. “We are pragmatic and understand well that the existence of a neighbor such as Russia as your enemy is dangerous, and it is necessary to start dialogue with them,” stated Saakashvili.

The same sentiments were repeated immediately by Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze in his interview with a Russian newspaper, expressing a constructive readiness for dialogue with Russia at any time and any place. However, Vashadze highlighted some issues concerning Russian-Georgian dialogue. “Nobody should have any illusions that, during such negotiations, Georgia will consider economic issues,” stated Vashadze.

Some Georgian analysts think that, under the current circumstances when Moscow is trying to enter WTO, Georgia might make some concessions however Russia also has to concede some ground on certain matters.

However, Vashadze outlined the principle topics to be discussed at possible negotiations. These topics are the withdrawal of Russian militaries, the return of IDPs and restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity. “Though we understand that during the negotiations, Russian interests should be considered,” Vashadze said. He also expressed his confidence that negotiations will be conducted at some point but could not offer a timescale. In previous times, Georgia put forward certain preconditions to start dialogue with Russia. The first was the recalling of the recognition of Georgia’s territories as independent states and fulfilling the commitments made in the August 12, 2008 agreement.

So, one might think that it equates to a diplomatic defeat for Georgia's to agree to start dialogue without preconditions but in reality there are already certain preconditions and besides Georgia has taken the initiative. It is ready to conduct dialogue whereas the Kremlin has been permanently declining any contact with Saakashvili. So, this could be considered as a victory of Georgian diplomacy.

There is one other factor for attempting dialogue with Russia as achieving some positive moves in this direction would be beneficial for the Saakashvili administration and its claims to stay in power after 2013.