James Appathurai: Georgia itself determines its neighbor relations
Georgia, Tbilisi, April 8 / Trend, N. Kirtskhalia /
Georgia itself decides what relations it will establish with Russia, but we would like to see progress in Georgian-Russian relations, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said at a joint briefing with NATO's Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai in Tbilisi.
The Georgian president has determined not to use force in the Georgian occupied territories -- Abkhazia and South Ossetia -- and proposed a direct dialogue to establish relations with Russia's leadership. But Moscow has yet to respond to these proposals.
Appathurai said that NATO cannot dictate its partner Georgia what relations to establish with its neighbors. "However, of course, good-neighborly relations with Russia would be useful for both Georgia and NATO," he said.
Vashadze said no third country has the right to veto Georgia's accession into the Alliance.
Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in August 2008.
Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, and later Russian troops occupied the city and drove Georgia's military back home. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Aug. 26 and established diplomatic relations with them on Sept. 9, 2008. Georgia's autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia unilaterally declared independence from Georgia after the August 2008 war.