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What might Georgia expect of Medvedev and Obama’s “reload”?07.07.2009 | 15:04
The meeting between the presidents of Russia and the USA has been held in Kremlin. This is the second personal meeting of Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama and the first visit of the current White House master to Moscow. The purpose of negotiations is to "reload" bilateral relations, which is not that easy, in the opinion of experts and the media. The most complicated matters, that is, the discrepancies as to SNF were practically settled. Now, what about Georgia? What did the presidents decide about its future, considering their countries' geopolitical interests and their inevitable influence on this country?
On July, 6, the Russian and Georgian media displayed unique solidarity: all the news releases started with broadcasting the visit of the USA President Barack Obama to Moscow. Tbilisi makes no secret that the presidents' meeting will significantly influence the future of the country.
The Georgian TV channels started their news releases with this event; it was commented upon by the Moscow correspondents on air, and the newspapers gave a survey of the meeting in their front page articles. Thus, according to the Georgian Internet publications, Kviris Palitra (The Weekly Palette) headed its article as PutinObamamania; the Rezonansi newspaper produced another headline: Obama, Medvedev and Georgia, while 24 Saati (24 Hours) published an article called The Principle Reload.
As to the "reload" prospects and the Georgian issue touched upon in the talk of the two presidents, the experts and politicians' opinions divided. Most of them think that the USA president will not allow any "bargaining" in respect of the Georgian issue. Others believe that the leaders of the two states do not have to interfere in the affairs of this small country and should give it an opportunity to make its own decisions in the foreign and domestic policy. For example, according to GHN, leader of Labourites Shalva Natelashvili is sure that all the troubles in Georgia originate from the rivalry of Russia and the USA.
Leader of Labourites called upon the presidents of the USA and Russia to keep from interfering into the Georgian domestic policy and give the Georgian people a chance to decide their country's own destiny. As he stated at the press-conference, the purpose of the Labour Party is to turn Georgia into an area of cooperation and friendship for both states.
Other Georgian politicians including those in the opposition seem to be holding by an utterly pro-Western opinion, regardless of their repeated statements about the necessity of mending relationship with Russia. One of them is leader of the oppositional Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania. "Georgia will be one of the main points at issue in the course of negotiations between Obama and Medvedev, - Alasania stated, according to GHN. - The USA new administration will clearly outline its negative attitude towards Russia's policy in respect of Georgia. It will also confirm its non-recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The meeting between Obama and Medvedev will be followed by the visit of Vice President Biden, which is very important and which again speaks of the fact that Georgia is the USA's strategic partner".
First Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Mikhail Machavariani is also sure that Georgia and its security will be one of the main topics at the presidents' meeting. Vice Speaker of Parliament Gigi Tsereteli is sure that the meeting will become another evidence of the fact that the USA are going to keep side by side with its strategic partners and have no intention to change its position in respect of Georgia. "Today in Moscow, - he said, - two presidents are trying to come to an understanding in such important matter as the nuclear weapons reduction and other matters concerning Iran and Afghanistan". However, according to Tsereteli, "the USA are not going to settle those issues at the expense of the Georgian interests and the recognition of Russia's range of influence.
Still, in the opinion of the member of the Powerful Georgia parliamentary fraction Georgi Tsagareishvili, Georgia should not expect much of the meeting between the USA president Barack Obama and his Russian colleague Dmitri Medvedev. As Tsagareishvili told the journalists, he does not think that the future of Georgia is going to be decided in Moscow. "I have got no illusions, although there is a strong excitement among the parliamentary majority; they are obviously expecting a kind of miracle of this meeting", - he said. Still, as Tsagareishvili believes, the parties are surely going to touch upon the Georgian issue.
On his part, political expert Ramaza Sakvarelidze thinks that if Obama expresses a relatively compromising position in Moscow it might push Russia towards certain concessions.
Which of the politicians, analysts, political and other experts is going to be right? Obama's visit to Moscow will last for two days, so the itinerary is "overloaded".
Nevertheless, according to Interfax, the meeting of Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama resulted in signing a number of documents on Monday, including the documents relating to strategic nuclear forces (SNF), military transit to Afghanistan and military forces cooperation.