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Tbilisi awaiting the American-Russian “reload”2009-07-01 10:13
Next week, President of the USA Barack Obama is going to visit Moscow. The "reload" of the Russian-American relationship announced in March at the NATO Council meeting in Brussels is about to enter a new phase. Presidents of the two countries are going to discuss the perspectives of their partnership. The question is how these new tendencies are going to affect Georgia which has been the sticking point in the relationship between Russia and the USA for more than ten years already.
Preparations for the meeting of Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama are going on rather optimistically. On June, 27, Russia and NATO agreed upon resuming their cooperation in the field of security. The military connections between the parties have been suspended after the last August events in South Ossetia. A week before the American president's visit, the Russian and American parliamentarians had discussed the urgent problems of mutual relationship. The meeting turned out to be fruitful. According to Polit.ru, an Internet publication, the American parliamentarians acknowledged certain mistakes made by the USA in their estimation of the Russian-Georgian war, as well as those relating to the ABM defense.
However, one should not expect much of the pending visit. A well-known American political expert Tom Graham is warning against such hopes in News Time: "This is just the beginning of the process. I do not think that the USA are ready to take any definite steps that Moscow would want them to take". In the opinion of the political expert, the main point now is to stimulate the development of such relations.
The issue of Georgia was touched upon by Tom Graham separately. According to the American analyst, "one cannot soothe the tension around this issue in the context of the issue itself. The task of each country is not to optimize its benefits on each specific issue but to optimize the aggregate of the Russian-American relationship". He stated clearly that the USA are supporting Georgia, not Saakashvili. At the same time, Graham underlines: "I am basing upon the fact that we are going to reach common grounds as to SNF. The new agreement is going to ensure the new level of trust. It will become clear soon that the USA are supporting Georgia, not Saakashvili in person. Gradually, the atmosphere of relationship is going to change, and then Moscow will take a different look at it, so that we might find the situations that would be satisfactory both for Russia and the USA".
Neither are the American congressmen giving any clear answers to the questions about the future actions of White House. According to the Polit.ru publication, when asked about the possibility of the USA's refusal to support the initiators of the two colour revolutions, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives Howard Berman made no answer. On his part, Chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev pointed out that the times change but Berman, just like his predecessors Thomas Lantos and Henry Hide, is as a strong-minded defender of the USA interests as the Russian participants of the meeting who assert the interests of their country. Besides, Kosachev pointed out that the Russian international delegates had cooperated both with Hide and Lantos.
There are many issues to be settled by heads of Russia and the USA. These are the issues of the nuclear disarmament, security, cancellation of the Jackson-Venik's amendment, as well as holding discussions relating to ABM defense and SNF. So, the Georgian topic is hardly going to be a priority during Dmitri Midvedev and Barack Obama's talk. Still, one should not derogate the value of this topic either.