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Vashadze: a grudge-bearing negotiator13.09.2010 | 13:05
Georgian FM Grigol Vashadze keeps going hot and cold. At first he gave unrequested advice in connection with Armenia's internal affairs referring to "a threat from Moscow". Now he states he's ready to start negotiations with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov "even today". Well, declaring good intentions Tbilisi seems to be singing its old song about the main thing.
We are ready to start negotiations any time, any place, on any subject, - Vashadze is quoted by GHN. - I'm ready to meet with Sergey Lavrov right away. If desired, representatives of our government will start negotiations with our Russian colleagues any time".
Putting it mildly, the Georgian minister's proposal is slightly in discord with his recent comments on the treaty on Gyumri military base extended lease signed by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Armenian leader Serge Sargsyan. A few days ago Vashadze highlighted that the base does not offer possibilities for stability, security and cooperation to anyone. Moreover, as alleged it "does not create favorable conditions required to solve existing problems in South Caucasus in a civilized and a peaceful way".
Yerevan has already asked the minister not to nose into other people's affairs making a number of political experts put his professional suitability in doubt.
Now comes a new statement from Vashadze. The Georgian diplomat, as it turns out, is ready to communicate with Moscow - "right away". However, things are as banal as always. This "right-away" does not eliminate traditional Georgian ultimatums: Moscow-Tbilisi talks must start with the discussion on pull-out of Russian bases from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Well, there is nothing new in what Georgian FM asks. In summer Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili came forward with a similar statement: "We have no interest in a standoff with Russia, - the president confessed then. - We are ready to a dialogue with them, including Russian leaders. We acknowledge them as partners in talks". A curious thing is that Mikheil Nikolayevich told about readiness to hold talks on settlement of relations "without any preconditions". He added though that "normalization" means return of refugees to their homes and "deoccupation of Georgia's territories". Sounds nonsense, doesn't it?
The question is what forced Vashadze to make this "friendly" statement? Probably, the reason is this: firstly, a short time ago US Deputy Assistant on European and Eurasian Affairs of the Secretary of State Tina Kaidenau arrived in Georgia with a meeting with the republic's FM on her agenda. Secondly, now more and more European countries call Sakartvelo to start a dialogue with Moscow. Obviously, these diplomatic moves meant readiness to communication.
By all appearances Vashadze is perfectly aware that Russia will not discuss "deoccupation" with Georgia. Thus, he will have another pretext to spite Russia presenting it as a tough negotiator to the West.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the intrinsic meaning of the Georgian minister's words as well as an expected response from Smolenskaya square with Alexander Konovalov, president of the Institute for Strategic Analysis and Evaluations.
The politologist reminds that Vashadze's position was expressed by Georgian politicians more than once. Besides, Russia too made statements on readiness to start talks with Georgia unless it is Saakashvili. "On the whole, constant dropping wears away a stone, - he remarked. - By the way, recently air communication was resumed between the countries. Apparently, Moscow will not discuss "deoccupation", particularly on conditions above".
The expert thinks that Russia's decision to recognize Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence was mostly involuntary since the Russian side had been trying to avoid that for more than a decade supporting Georgia's territorial integrity within borders of the Soviet Union. "Everything changed when Saakashvili attempted to solve the Ossetian problem by force trying to get back to the situation that would suit him", - Alexander Konovalov says. - Probably, he had a romantic hope that Russia would help him here too. But Moscow's actions don't need justifications in this case".