Georgia leader says private Putin talk "useful"

Georgia Materials 29 November 2006 11:50 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) - Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili said on Wednesday his meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin on the fringes of a Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Minsk had been "useful".

Saakashvili had requested a meeting with Putin to try to soothe ties badly damaged by a diplomatic row and ensuing economic sanctions by Russia, reports Trend.

"The one-to-one talk with the Russian president took place at Georgia's initiative. The meeting was useful," Saakashvili said in comments broadcast by Georgian television.

He was speaking to journalists in London where he arrived overnight to attend the first initial public offering of a Georgian company, commercial bank Sakartvelos Banki.

The meeting, which took place on Tuesday after an official dinner for CIS leaders, lasted about 40 minutes. The Kremlin had initially been cool to the idea of such a meeting.

"Georgia must maintain constant dialogue with the Russian Federation," Saakashvili said in London. "I think the Russian leadership understands very well the importance of normalising relations with Georgia."