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Tbilisi between Moscow and Washington24.06.2009 | 15:32
Up to recently, Moscow's relationship with Tbilisi has been inversely proportional to the Georgian-American relations. The more the Georgian politicians were clinging to White House, the worse their relationship with the Kremlin turned. This has brought the Georgian-Russian relations to a dead end: war, termination of diplomatic relations, mutual accusations. Meanwhile, there has emerged a possibility of melting the frost of the Georgian-Russian relations via the efforts of Washington.
A new slogan has appeared in the latest news releases: "Improvement of relations between the USA and Russia will contribute to Georgia's safety". This is not at all another PR move of the journalists, for the fact was stated by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg after his meeting with Head of the Georgian MFA Grigol Vashadze.
Steinberg pointed out that the meeting of the Russian and American presidents is not only going to improve relationship between Moscow and Washington but will also contribute to the safety of the countries included into NATO area.
It is rather difficult to say what Steinberg meant. So far, the "reload" between Washington and Moscow is proceeding with varying success. Thus, Washington rejected Dmitri Medvedev's proposal to associate the USA's refusal to build the national ABM defense with the significant reduction of the Russian nuclear arsenals. The Americans still believe those two issues to be different, although they are alluding to the fact that the perspectives of building the ABM defense in Europe have indeed "grown dim", Gazeta.ru reports.
Moscow is insisting upon the fact that the problems of SNF and ABM defense location in Europe are inseparable. This was stated yesterday at the press-conference in Vienna by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov. He said that the correlation of signing the European Safety Treaty with the events in the Caucasus is artificial: "This correlation is artificial. It can only be explained by the fact that somebody is still unwilling to accept the truth in public. We know that the truth is accepted on the quiet; still no one has got the courage to do it openly".
Will the Presidents of the two countries Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama be able to find a compromise on the existing matters of dispute during the meeting, according to Steinberg's prediction? July is coming; and so far, there is no peace in the historically unquiet Caucasus. After the August events the peaceful atmosphere in the Caucasus is highly dependable upon the Moscow-Washington-Tbilisi triangle, which can in no way be referred to as equilateral.
Nevertheless, the president of Georgia says that "the USA's support of Georgia is growing". This has been stated in an on-air interview to Rustavi-2 on June, 19. In his turn, Chairman of the Foreign Liaisons Parliamentary Committee Akaki Minashvili is sure that the USA are not going to be involved into any exchange or bargaining with Russia. This was mentioned by the parliamentarian while he was speaking about the scheduled meeting of the American and Russian presidents, as the Georgian media report.
"Despite the fact that the USA are seeking to mend their relationship with Russia in many aspects, including the matter of the nuclear weapons reduction, Iran and Afghanistan, during the meetings and important forums they keep asserting their position that they are not going to be involved into any exchange or bargaining, for it goes against the interests of the American people", - the Georgian Akaki Minashvili believes.
However, the Georgian political experts are sure that the USA are not going to quarrel with Russia because of Georgia, while Europe believes that it is high time for Russia and Georgia to meet at the negotiating table. This was stated by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis at the briefing in Strasbourg on June, 23. Besides, the EC Secretary General underlined that "it is not Moscow who will decide about the president of Georgia". "Washington had a similar desire in respect of Cuba; however, today they think it necessary to consider the current reality", Trend is quoting Terry Davis.
However, it is fair to say that Moscow has never expressed any particular requests as to the candidacy for the Georgian presidency, justly believing this matter to be the prerogative right of the Georgians. Still, the Russian government has expressly stated its desire not to deal with Mikhail Saakashvili any more as long as he is guilty of aggression against the peaceful Tskhinval and death of the Russian peace-makers.
The EC secretary also thinks that the opposition has got a "legitimate right" to demand the resignation of President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, as well as that the president has got a legitimate right to take a decision of his own. "I have been in opposition in Great Britain and demanded the prime minister's resignation more than once; still he had a right to take his own decision and he did not resign", - Davis said.