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Rice fleeing, Gorbachev refuting and ship departing2010-09-08 11:15
The 5th World Leaders Symposium seems to in complete disarray. It turned out ex-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev had no intention to go to Tbilisi despite news reports and hopes of the organizers - he has absolutely different plans. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had planned to take part in the event but all of a sudden she was off the hook leaving the country in an unknown direction after a short visit to Batumi. Later it was reported that she preferred a trip to the capital of Ireland, the home of a constellation of bright literary talents, to meeting Mikheil Saakashvili. It would be definitely unfair to blame Mrs Rice for the choice she made.
choice she made.
A delegation of a bunch of Ukrainian, Russian and US politologists has arrived in Batumi. Former politicians, so waited for in Georgia, have not appeared. The press accounts the mishap for a "sensational" piece of news: it turns out that the world tour is not at all the fifth world leaders symposium but an event entitled Russia and the Black Sea.
But people are not so easily deceived by such garbage. World Leaders Travel official site features a brochure with a hammer and sickle on it where it is written in white over red that Condoleezza Rice, Mikhail Gorbachev and William Perry will take part in the World Leaders Symposium with the Global Challenges in a Post-Perestroika World program. There is also a list of countries the world leaders are going to visit from August 30 to September 15, 2010: Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Turkey.
No doubt, Black Sea regional problems were on the agenda as well as non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Russia's influence and discussion of the strategic resources of Caucasus. But saying that Silver Wind liner is on an academic cruise to show Tbilisi and Batumi sights to high-ranking officials is simply impossible on the basis of the official information.
For instance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, whose representatives were supposed to greet former US Secretary of State don't know where the guest has gone. Nino Kalandadze, deputy FM minister made the following statement at a briefing: "As far as I know, Condoleezza Rice arrived in Batumi getting a warm welcome from Ajaria residents. As for her departure, I know nothing about it". However, it would be a sin to arraign this nice lady Mikheil Saakashvili takes a great fancy to - certainly for her professional competence.