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Tbilisi: a hindrance in the Moscow-Washington “reload”?15.07.2009 | 18:06
Such computer word as "reload" has recently penetrated the political vocabulary. Russia and the USA started "reloading" their relationship on July, 6, when the American president visited Moscow. A week later, Georgia again became the sticking point between the Kremlin and the White House. The day before, the US had criticized the visit paid by the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to South Ossetia. On the same day, Dmitri Anatolyevitch visited the seventh Guards Airborne Division in Novorossijsk which last August entered the Georgian-Abkhazian buffer area in the towns of Senaki, Zugdidi and Poti in order to prevent a conflict.
The Georgian MIA is going to send a note of protest to Russia in connection with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's visit to South Ossetia.
According to the department of press and information of the Georgian foreign policy administration, the note will be delivered to Russia via the Swiss Embassy, which has got the RF interests protection department. In a statement disseminated earlier, the Georgian MIA referred to President Medvedev's visit to Tskhinvali as to "a cynical attempt of legitimizing puppet regimes", as if Russia's recognition of the two South-Caucasian republics after the Georgian aggression were not enough for "legitimization".
GeorgiaTimes has given a detailed review of Dmitri Medvedev's visit to Tskhinval. As to Tbilisi, it made profusive statements as to the Russian president's visit to South Ossetia. On the 14th of July, the Georgian parliament's temporary committee for resuming the territorial integrity made a special statement, where it estimated the visit of the Russian president to Tskhival as "a hostile step in respect of Georgia", as Novosti-Georgia reports.
While staying in Ankara, where he attended the ceremony of signing a multilateral agreement on Nabucco project, Saakashvili was utterly cynical when he called Medvedev's visit immoral, for Medvedev "has obviously been carried through the ruins of the Georgian and Ossetian villages". The Georgian leader has obviously forgotten his own involvement in ruining Tskhinval. However, such declarations on the part of the Georgian officials have already became quite common.
It is another thing which is surprising. It seemed that during Obama's recent visit to Moscow the parties have cleared up their positions in respect of Georgia: the USA do not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, while Russia does, as long as it believes that by its August adventure the Tbilisian regime eliminated the possibility of existence of these peoples within one single state. Well, here are two different approaches to the situation, which is a usual thing in the modern world. For instance, Moscow does not recognize Kosovo, while Washington does. As to the Russian MFA, it has got more serious work to do than stamping notes of protest after each visit of the American officials to Kosovo.
The American department of state is obviously more militaristic. While commenting upon the Russian President's visit to South Ossetia, the State Department spokesman Ian Kelly called upon Moscow to respect Georgia's "territorial integrity", having accused it of non-fulfillment of its obligations. According to the Echo of Moscow, Kelly did not say a word as to Georgia having to fulfill its obligations as well. The American diplomat only stated that "the disagreement upon the Georgian issue is still in place". Does it mean that the recently launched "reload" is already failing? Or, perhaps, that is the way the zealous officials are trying to correct the strategy carried out by their president.
However, the experts and analysts still keep arguing as to the "reload". For instance, independent political expert Leonid Radzikhovsky says in the VZGLYAD newspaper: "Let us admit that "Obama's appearance to Russia" has failed. It means that the effect produced by his visit turned out to be much smaller than "an average Obama effect" throughout the world". As to the George W. Bush former administration officials, they are dissatisfied with an excessively soft position of Obama in respect of Moscow. According to The Wall Street Journal, this was stated by the US Under Secretary of State of the George W. Bush administration Liz Cheney.
A video dialogue was even held between Moscow and Tbilisi on the following topic: "Georgia is a bone of contention between Russia and the USA". The on-air video dialogue was arranged by RIA Novosti. In the course of the dialogue, the president of the Diplomatic Academy Soso Tsintsadze insisted that no Georgian president, neither the current one, nor the future one, will ever be able to put up with the loss of territories.
Head of the international relationship problems department of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Sergey Markedonov reasonably noted that the problem of Georgia's territorial integrity is not solved in Washington; neither is it fully solved in Moscow. In his opinion, one cannot speak of Georgia as of the main shooting ground for another "cold war" between Russia and the USA. Sergey Markedonov believes that Georgia, with the whole of its importance for the South Caucasus, is not a number-one issue in the Russian-American relationship.