Shevardnadze: Georgia can become victim of major power games
Georgia, Tbilisi, March 12 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /
Restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia does not mean Georgia's recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and therefore nothing impedes the start of negotiations between Tbilisi and Moscow, former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze told the weekly Asaval-Dasavali.
He said the Russian Foreign Ministry's proposal of its readiness to establish diplomatic relations with Georgia should be welcomed and it's necessary to start negotiations.
"We can raise the question of withdrawal of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia during negotiations, since only Moscow will be willing to resolve this issue," said Shevardnadze.
He believes that 'resources of relations' between Georgia and Russia 'have not been exhausted', but "Georgia must change its attitude for the better, not only to the president-elect Vladimir Putin, but the whole of Russia. Then there will be a prospect of establishing good neighbourly relations," the former president said.
The U.S. has already recognised the elections in Russia, U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Putin on his victory and a meeting has been announced.
"Georgia should be careful to avoid becoming a victim of a game of the big powers," Shevardnadze said, noting that the meeting between Obama and Putin, which will be held before the NATO summit in Chicago could "influence the decisions of the latter".