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Need for strong US-Georgia relations re-emphasised

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, November 8
Russia's relationship with many countries around the world, indeed its reputation around the world, will never be what it could be, what Russians want it to be, so long as in the view of much of the world, it is occupying a sovereign country - Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, stated for Radio Liberty, on November 5.

“The sticking point in U.S.-Russia bilateral relations is the situation in Georgia. The United States recognizes Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, while Russia has installed military troops on Georgian soil, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. You have called this "a real difference" and said "we talk about it, but have agreed with Moscow not to let it stand in the way of the good relationship" both sides want. Where, if anywhere, is the pressure coming from to solve this inconsistency in U.S. policy? And indeed, is there any pressure to solve it?” Gordon said.

He also mentioned how the problem might be solved, “Well, I think there's significant international pressure to solve the question. Russia's relationship with many countries around the world -indeed, its reputation around the world -will never be what it could be, what Russians want it to be, so long as in the view in much of the world, it's occupying a sovereign country. And when Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, they may have expected a number of countries would go along, but they haven't. And it will constantly be an issue for many countries around the world, for many countries in the European Union and certainly for the United States,” Gordon stated.

Herewith, the Assistant U.S. Secretary of State considered that rejecting relations with Russia would not be a precondition for resolving the problem, “We don't think that would be in our interest, it wouldn't be in Russia's interest, and I would add, we don't think it would be in Georgia's interest, to say that we refuse to deal with Russia, we refuse to look for common ground, we refuse to strike any agreement in any area, until the difficult issue over Georgia is resolved. We don't believe that would be a successful approach or in anybody's interest.”

As the state Minister of Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili stated, “The United states is one of the most important allies for Georgia. Several countries have already recognized Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as occupied territories and the United States was one of the first who did this. Generally, their statements are reflected in concrete legal documents. Non recognition policy of those regions is progressing successfully and we are working actively in this field with our allies, “Iakobashvili said.

American support towards Georgia is significant; however putting pressure on Russia would be more effective than supportive agreements or resolutions, analyst Nika Chitadze told the Messenger, “American support towards Georgia is very significant, however, in my opinion carrying out pressure on Russia, for example in economic issues, will be more effective than supportive statements or agreements. An American Congressmen has already commented on such pressure and underlined the importance of such a step. Therefore, if the United States goes in this direction, it should be followed by the International community. If Russia finds itself under pressure, only after this we can expect some positive moves, “Chitadze stated.

According to political scientist, Zurab Davitashvili commented that relations with the United States and the west are extremely important for the country’s future, “Georgia should have close relations with the United States and the west, as if Georgia decides to solve the occupied regions’ problem alone face to face with Russia, this would be extremely negative for the country. If somebody thinks that following a policy loyal to Russia might have any positive outcome for Georgia, then they are mistaken. Our main allies in this direction are the West and the United States. For now our primary goal is not to concede and remain patient.”