Given the recent flare-up in Georgian-Russian tension, spurred by the collapse of talks on the withdrawal of Russian troops stationed in Georgia, many media outlets in Tbilisi expected that issue to dominate Saakashvili's discussions with Bush. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. But Russia was barely mentioned during public comments made by both Bush and Saakashvili. Instead, the dominant topic during Bush's two-day visit, the first by a sitting US president to the South Caucasus, was the need for the peaceful resolution of conflicts involving Georgia's separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
Saakashvili reiterated his administration's commitment to achieving Georgian reunification through negotiations. "We will peacefully resolve the dispute with our South Ossetian and Abkhazian neighbors," Saakashvili said during the news conference. "We know we can count on US support in these endeavors."
To read the full story
Elizabeth Owen is EurasiaNet.orgs Caucasus news coordinator in Tbilisi.