Saakashvili ready for dialogue with Russia
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 25President Saakashvili, in his speech at the European Parliament on November 23, officially stated that Georgia is not going to use military force to settle its territorial conflicts. It was Georgia's witty way of responding to the Russian and separatist demands to sign the agreement between Tbilisi and its breakaway regions on non-resumption of violence. So, Georgia officially declared its position and thus avoided the necessity of signing any agreement with its own territories, which Russia desperately demanded, as it would mean the indirect recognition of breakaway regions as independent entities by Georgia itself. Thus Tbilisi managed to avoid Russia's ideal scenario while gaining serious international support. The French foreign minister had already made a statement where he mentioned that Georgia had made a commitment not to take military measures and so it is the turn of other side to do so, meaning Russia of course. Saakashvili plans to send appropriate letters of non use of force to the UN General Secretary, OSCE and the EU leaders. Moreover, the Georgian president made yet another public statement that his country is ready to enter full scale dialogue with Russia, in particular with President Medvedev. “We need Russia as a partner and not as an enemy,” stated Saakashvili, highlighting that Russia could play a significantly positive role in the transformation of the Caucasus region. On the other hand, Georgia demanded that the international community acknowledge the presence of Russian military forces in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region as occupation. It is difficult to predict whether the EU will immediately do so and label Russians as occupiers, but nevertheless European parliamentarians thought highly of Saakashvili’s statement about Georgia’s commitment of non use of force and its readiness to conduct dialogue with Russia. But, of course the EU supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. There are speculations whether the Kremlin leadership will accept Georgia’s statement or if it will continue its policy of ignoring Saakashvili as Georgia’s political leader. As it is known, the Putin-Medvedev tandem has several times stated loudly that they would never meet and negotiate with Saakashvili. So, from a diplomatic point of view, Georgia has won this round, presenting itself as a peaceful, constructive and sensible country. Now it is Moscow’s turn to give its arguments as to why it would not conclude dialogue with Georgia or, indeed, have any dialogue whatsoever in the first place.