Saakashvili’s Cautious Reaction to Bagapsh-Medvedev Meeting

President Saakashvili said he welcomed the meeting between the Abkhaz leader and Russian president, if it genuinely aimed at resolving the conflict.“Russia’s former president met with the separatist leaders previously,” Saakashvili said in a televised press conference late on June 27. “If President Medvedev discussed at the meeting the peaceful resolution of the problem through taking into account everyone’s interests, then we welcome it. But if someone hopes that by [this meeting] to legitimize the annexation of this territory – I want to tell them that we will not let it happen as long as we are alive.”Georgian officials have said that President Saakashvili is likely to meet his Russian counterpart in July, either in Sochi or Krasnodar.Saakashvili also said that “unfreezing relations” with Russia was of vital importance.“The tone observed in my contacts with Russia’s new president [Dmitry Medvedev] is a source of optimism; we, however, expect a change in the situation in connection with the conflicts and our territorial integrity,” Saakashvili said.He denied a Russian newspaper report about having talks with Moscow over a plan to partition Abkhazia.“We will not give anyone anything,” he said. “No one should have any illusion about that.”He said that Tbilisi was committed to its peace initiatives involving, among other things, setting up a free economic zone in the Gali and Ochamchire districts of the breakaway region.He said that Abkhazia was an integral part of Georgia, especially because of its important role in the entire country’s economic development.“Abkhazia is a large part of our tourism potential; a large part of our electricity [hydropower plant on Enguri river]; Abkhazia is two-thirds of our sea coast; in Georgia the largest oil [deposits] are in Abkhazia; there are two ports in Abkhazia [Ochamchire and Sokhumi],” Saakashvili said, adding that the return of Abkhazia would amount to a three-fold increase in the Georgian economy.This post is also available in:
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