Ex-president: Georgian-Russian settlement possible if Ivanishvili wins
Georgia, Tbilisi, March 19 / Trend, N.Kirtskhalia /
Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze sees prospects for the settlement of Georgian-Russian relations only in the case of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's opposition coalition's victory in the parliamentary and subsequent presidential elections. As former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said in an interview with the Georgian edition of Asaval-Dasavali, Moscow will not talk to the current Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili.
"Putin has said openly that he will not talk to Saakashvili and says he expects autumn elections in Georgia," he said.
Shevardnadze said that despite Georgia's claims on readiness to begin negotiations; this process will currently not go beyond talks.
"In the case of Ivanishvili's victory in parliamentary elections that is realistic, because he is supported by most of the population. It will be easy for him to negotiate with Moscow and this can be the beginning of the restoration of Georgia's territorial integrity," Shevardnadze said.
Shevardnadze welcomed the decision of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, who congratulated Vladimir Putin on his election as the Russian president. "This congratulation is the beginning of dialogue with Russia and in case of Ivanishvili's victory this process will develop quickly," he stressed.
Military action was launched in Georgia's South Ossetia territory on Aug.8,2008. Later Russian troops occupied the city of Tskhinvali and drove the Georgian military back.
Russia recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in late August. In response, Tbilisi broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow and announced two unrecognised republics as the occupied territories.