Zhvania Puts Out Fires in Moscow

Georgia’s Parliamentary Chairman Zurab Zhvania held consultations with Russia’s State Duma in framework of his official visit to Moscow today, October 26.

Zhvania, regarded one of the most pro-Western politicians in Georgia, attempted to defuse the tensions that escalated under the barrage of accusations from Russia in harboring Chechen terrorist groups and their alleged presence in Abkhazia.

The fate of the Russian peacekeepers in Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia was in focus of media statements of both Zhvania and his Russian colleague, Genadi Seleznyov. Georgian Parliament demanded withdrawal of the peacekeepers, while Russian Duma countered with quite strict statement accusing Georgia of pro-terrorist policies.

“Russia was and remains Georgia’s primary partner in finding solutions to Abkhaz problem,” Zhvania stated. “This is inevitable as Russia is best positioned to impact the processes there,” he added.

Russian parliamentarians stressed with satisfaction that Georgians do not insist on immediate withdrawal of the peacekeepers. “If Georgia will guarantee that the extensive military operations will not resume, we can certainly withdraw our peacekeepers,” says Russian Duma MP Irina Hakamada “but it seems from our today’s conversation [with Zhvania] that Georgian side can not give such guarantees due to objective reasons.”

It is thought that Zhvania’s visit will prepare the ground to the summit of Presidents Eduard Shevardnadze and Vladimir Putin to be held in the nearest future. However, the date of the meeting is still unknown.