GEORGIA WAITING FOR SIGNAL FROM MOSCOW


07.11.06
MOSCOW. (Mamuka Areshidze for RIA Novosti)

Georgia did not decide overnight to withdraw from the CIS. Members of the ruling party started discussions on this several months ago.
Paradoxically, now the opposition is submitting this subject for consideration by the Georgian parliament. According to the statement of the parliamentary majority, they are not going to approve this proposal of the opposition. When the parliament discusses withdrawal from the CIS next Friday, November 10, it is not likely to receive real support.
Many in Tbilisi think that taking such a step now will be premature and irresponsible. It is hardly sensible to aggravate the situation on the eve of the possible meeting of the Georgian and Russian Presidents, and the upcoming CIS summit. A number of Georgian political scientists have already expressed the opinion that slamming the door and quitting the CIS against the backdrop of the worsened bilateral relations means killing all hopes for a dialogue with Moscow. I think that the escalation of the conflict between our two countries has reached a point beyond which war is the only option, although I find it difficult to imagine the Georgians fighting against the Russians even for a moment.
It is true, however, that both sides have contributed to the escalation of tension. Some politicians have gone too far in making mutual accusations. The economic blockade and deportation of Georgians will clearly have a negative effect on the future of both countries.
Tbilisi is hoping that a potential summit will lead to negotiations on improving bilateral relations. Even anti-Russian hawks from the Georgian parliament are trying to soften their rhetoric. Mikhail Saakashvili has said for all to hear that he is ready to meet with the Russian President anywhere and at any time. Georgia is waiting for a signal from Moscow.

Mamuka Areshidze, Director of the Caucasian Center for Strategic Studies, member of the RIA Novosti Expert Council.-0-