After talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on June 13, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will travel to the United States and meet President George W. Bush on July 5 to discuss secessionist conflicts and democratic reforms.
In a statement issued on June 19 the White House, which has described Georgia as "a key ally" in an important region and “a valued partner” in the war on terror, said the two Presidents will discuss developments in consolidating Georgia’s democratic transition since the U.S. President’s visit to Georgia in May, 2005; efforts to promote “a peaceful resolution to the separatist conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia;” cooperation in energy security and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, as well as common commitment to working together to advance freedom and security around the world.
Saakashvili said on June 18 that Georgia will intensify its international efforts on the eve of a summit of the G8 leaders scheduled for mid-July in St. Petersburg so that to make Georgia’s “voice well heard.”
“We plan certain [foreign] visits and consultations and not only at the level of the President, but also at the level of the Foreign Minister, parliamentarians etc,” he told Tbilisi-based Imedi television and added that “the Georgia’s issue” will definitely be discussed at the G8 summit.
“Georgia’s issue, which is put on the G8 summit agenda, is very important because it is matter of fair attitude towards freedom-loving nation, because it is a matter of fair resolution of conflicts, because it is a matter of our region’s strategic location in respect of energy supplies. So Georgia’s issue will definitely be discussed, there is no doubt in this,” Saakashvili said.
But the Washington Post reported on June 19 that the U.S. officials are still seeking to put Georgia and Moldova on the agenda of a G8 pre-summit foreign ministers' meeting on June 29 in Moscow, but they don't expect to succeed because of Russia’s objection.
President Bush, who will participate in the U.S.-EU summit in Vienna on June 21, said on June 19 while speaking at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, that America and Europe have a duty to help others in securing freedom.
“We're fulfilling that duty together in Georgia and Ukraine, where we stand with brave people striving to consolidate democratic gains,” Bush said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft traveled to Abkhazia on June 19 and held talks with Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh and Foreign Minister of the breakaway region Sergey Shamba.
Matthew Bryza noted after talks that the U.S. diplomats have listened to constrictive proposals, according to the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress.
Both Tbilisi’s and Sokhumi’s proposals give reason to think that a common language can be found between the sides and that there is willingness to make a progress in the conflict resolution process both in Tbilisi and Sokhumi, Bryza said.