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Saakashvili Says Talks with Putin ‘Useful’
/ 29 Nov.'06 / 11:22
Civil Georgia

President Saakashvili said on November 29 that he had “a useful conversation” with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the CIS summit in Minsk on November 28.

“We had a useful conversation. I think that we could push for all the major issues [at the talks]. It was our initiative to hold this meeting. And we will always push for the initiative to have talks. We should have a constant dialogue with Russia,” Saakashvili said.

He was speaking to a group of Georgian reporters in London where he arrived overnight to attend at the London Stock Exchange the first initial public offering of a Georgian company, Bank of Georgia.

“At the same time, I think Russia understands that it should have an absolutely different type of relationship with Georgia… It is time for us, Georgians, to understand that it won’t have any decisive importance for us what Russia will think, say or do in respect to Georgia,” Saakashvili said.

Speaking with journalists in Minsk, Russian leader Vladimir Putin confirmed that he met with Saakashvili, but did not elaborate further on the issue. Putin said that he had “the most comprehensive talks” with his Moldovan counterpart Vladimir Voronin, and added that Russia has agreed to resume importing Moldovan wines. Russia banned import of wines from Moldova and Georgia in March, 2006.

No joint news conference by CIS leaders was held after the summit in Minsk. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who holds the rotating chairmanship of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), was the only leader to appear at a news conference shortly after the summit. He said the Russian and Georgian Presidents had “a very useful” conversation during a closed-door session of CIS heads of state.

The statement prompted Georgian media sources to report that no face-to-face talks were held between the two leaders.

The Georgian side had been pushing for bilateral talks in anticipation of the summit, but Putin aide Modest Kolerov said on the eve of the summit that no separate meeting with the two Presidents was planned.

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