Saakashvili said willing to talk to Moscow

Dec. 23, 2008 at 12:42 PM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili may be seeking to renew relations with Moscow after his hopes for NATO membership were derailed, local media reported.

The Moscow business daily Kommersant reported Tuesday that a leader of ethnic Georgians living in Russia claims Saakashvili told him he realizes there is a need for dialogue between the countries, RIA Novosti said.

Mikhail Khubutiya told the paper that Saakashvili seemed to be willing to resume contacts with Moscow, saying, "I think he is disappointed with (the) failure to obtain a NATO membership program for Georgia and secure Europe's support. He seems to have realized there is a need for dialogue with Russia."

Contacts between Georgia and Russia have been severed since the brief August war between the countries over the breakaway Georgian states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow has since recognized as independent nations. Georgia's bid to join NATO has been derailed by opposition from European members anxious to restore high-level ties with Russia.

Russian officials have said since conflict that Russian-Georgian relations have no future as long as Saakashvili is in power, RIA Novosti reported.

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