Georgian government has strongly denied having talks with Moscow over Georgia’s return to Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Georgia’s new authorities’ rebuttal followed after Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, that while visiting Belarus on January 29 director of the first department for CIS at the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Yevdokimov said it was up to Georgia itself to decide whether it would return to CIS or not. RIA Novosti also said quoting Yevdokimov that there already were contacts with the Georgian officials “over this issue”.
Belarus state news agency, BelTA, however, reported: “On the issue of fostering Georgia’s return to CIS, Mikhail Yevdokimov stressed: ‘no one has expelled Georgia from CIS, it was the decision of this country’. He said that ‘contacts with the Georgian representatives have already been launched and if they express willingness to return to CIS then all the CIS member states, I think, will discuss the decision with consensus’.”
First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Davit Zalkaliani said: “There are no contacts, no consultations whatsoever with the Russian side over this issue.”
“Our foreign policy is towards Europe and Euro-Atlantic space and we remain committed to this course. Our foreign policy priorities remain unchanged; that is full integration into Euro-Atlantic structures,” Zalkaliani said.
President Saakashvili’s UNM party said after RIA Novosti’s report that if it was true and Georgia’s new authorities were really in talks with Moscow over becoming CIS member, it would amount to “betrayal of Georgia’s national interests.”
“If not then the Foreign Ministry should send a protest note to the Russian Foreign Ministry for spreading disinformation,” MP Giorgi Gabashvili of UNM said.
President Saakashvili first announced about quitting CIS on August 12, 2008, just after the active phase of military hostilities with Russia were over. He described the decision as "saying farewell to the Soviet Union."
Georgia formally quit the organization on August 18, 2009 after year-long formal procedures, required for leaving CIS, were completed.