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Obama’s enemies – Georgia’s friends?19.04.2011 | 19:34
Today, a delegation of American congressmen of the Republican Party arrives in Georgia. The guests have come to Tbilisi with an interesting purpose of familiarizing with the way Moscow-Washington's reload influenced the safety of the USA's allies in East Europe. Georgian MFA made it clear that the Republicans' future assessment is extremely important for the Georgian party. GeorgiaTimes correspondent talked to a well-known Russian political expert Valery Khomyakov and deputy of the Georgian Parliament Petre Mamradze about what is to be expected of Barack Obama's opponents' visit to Sakartvelo.
Georgian Parliament Petre Mamradze about what is to be expected of Barack Obama's opponents' visit to Sakartvelo.
It will take the Republicans two days to assess the consequences of the Russian-American reload. The guests have got rather a tight schedule: they are going to meet with President Mikhail Saakashvili, Secretary of the Security Council Giorgy Bokeria, Chairman of Parliament David Bakradze, representatives of the opposition and members of the EU monitoring mission in Georgia. Moreover, congressmen are going to visit the borders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The stated purpose of the visit - the assessment of consequences of the so-called reload between Russia and the United States that started when the new American leader Barack Obama came to power - quite fits the Republicans' policy. Now that the U.S. president announced the beginning of a pre-election campaign, his opponents need to win the support of those partner-countries that evidently feel discomfort because of a thaw between Moscow and the USA.
Georgia, perhaps, tops the list. The republic's foreign policy administration is ready for such a story. "We closely communicate with the partner-countries, with the USA especially, - Novosti-Georgia it citing Deputy Head of MFA Nino Kalandaze. - The assessments of politicians of such rank are very important in the process of bilateral cooperation".
The subject of the Republicans' further discussions is evident, especially that the delegation is led by John Kyl. It's him who together with two colleagues applied to Barack Obama at the beginning of April with the initiative to set up an American ABM radar in Georgia. At that time, congressmen motivated their proposal by the complicated negotiations with Turkey. As is known, Ankara agreed to the installation only if the USA would not disclose the information collected by the radiolocation station to Israel. Besides, Turkey wanted to enjoy full control over the anti-ballistic missile defense system established in their territory. There could be no problems like that with Tbilisi; nevertheless, the White House did not respond to Kyl and the company's appeals.
It is quite probable that in the course of the Republicans' current visit, the question of the rearmament of the Georgian army with American weapon will be raised again. John McCain has many times delivered loud speeches saying that Georgia must be able to "defend itself against Russia's future attack". "The settlement of the issue of supplying defensive weapon to Georgia is my priority, as well as that of several more congressmen", - he stated during his last meeting with Mikhail Saakashvili.
Thus, the approximate evaluation the congressmen will give to the "reload" is quite predictable. General Director of the National Strategy Council Valery Khomyakov and Georgian parliamentarian Petre Mamradze shared their expectations of the Republicans' visit to Tbilisi with GeorgiaTimes.
Khomyakov: It is clear that the Republicans will criticize the "reload". Not the idea of it but the way it goes on. Obama is facing quite a difficult situation in the country, so the Republicans will talk about the drawbacks of the very technology, at the same time approving of the idea of setting up a dialogue with Russia. It is quite obvious that there is an unsettled issue between Moscow and Washington in this respect, the AMB, I mean. There is no serious progress in this direction and I do not rule out the possibility that the Republicans may plant some ideas about locating radars in the Georgian territory to defend themselves against Iran, thus meaning certain support of Saakashvili's regime. At the same time, one cannot forget that the current Georgian president is facing quite a complicated situation, that is why, the country's opposition also attracts the U.S. guests' attention despite inconsistency.
Mamradze: No doubts the Republicans will make various proposals but Barack Obama's administration is not going to locate AMB systems in Georgia or to arm the Georgian army. This was clearly stated many times. The White House understands that it will in no way affect Georgia's safety and even contribute to destabilization in the context of Saakashvili's regime. God knows how the president will use what he will get. As for the senators' clichés about support, they are impossible to exclude. That's politics, but it won't affect Washington's official line of policy.