Saakashvili meets Biden

By Salome Modebadze

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili met US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington on April 14. According to information released by the Press Service of the White House and the US Embassy in Tbilisi the two sides discussed the deep friendly relations between the two nations, which are based on the principles of democracy, freedom and human rights.

“Joe Biden thanked the Georgian Government for the engagement of Georgian troops in the Afghan Military Mission and their merit in the peacekeeping operation and stressed that the US continued to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and welcomed President Saakashvili’s intention to strengthen the country through democratic and economic reforms aimed at improving the stability and welfare of the country,” said the US source.

A meeting with the Congressional Georgia Support Group on April 15 was quite pleasant for the Georgian President, who is visiting the US to attend the Nuclear Security Summit. The Congressmen held a traditional reception for Saakashvili and toasted Georgian-American friendship with traditional Georgian red wine. “Our country continues to cooperate with post-Soviet countries, among which Georgia is our main strategic friend and partner,” Representative Eleanor Schwarz said. All the Congressmen praised the democratic and economic development of Georgia and the merits of its Government bodies, which they said were doing their best to rebuild the country. “Georgia is our friend and partner in the Afghan Mission; the country has fully supported us by accepting Guantanamo detainees into their country. At the meeting [with Saakashvili] we discussed the existing situation in Georgia and we welcome the country’s request for us to send an observer mission for the upcoming local government elections in Georgia [in May 30],” Senator John McCain stated.

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Analyst Gia Khukhashvili wasn’t optimistic about the results of Saakashvili’s visit to Washington. “Saakashvili being tapped on the shoulder by particular US politicians can’t be considered an expression of the official attitude of the US authorities towards the President of Georgia, as this is a usual part of the state protocol of various countries. Besides that, Joe Biden’s satisfaction with us is not enough for our country. There was an intense demand from the Georgian side that the US Government find at least 5 minutes in which to hold a separate meeting between the two countries’ Presidents before the Nuclear Security Summit but it did not happen. In addition the attitude of Obama towards Saakashvili and Medvedev differed so much at that summit that anyone could see that we should not have false hopes,” Khukhashvili told The Messenger.

Another political analyst, Soso Tsiskarishvili, told us that there are significant differences between the priorities of Georgia and those of the international community. Despite the importance of Georgia’s participation in international peacekeeping missions [in Iraq or Afghanistan] in the eyes of the Georgian people there are other burning issues which have to be dealt with within the country. But as the Head of State is trying to disguise the real situation in the country the rest of the world only sees the most positive aspects of Georgia.

The Georgian Government remains optimistic about a meeting between Saakashvili and Obama and hope that Georgia-US friendship will yield a multitude of positive benefits for Georgia.
The Messenger