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Georgia opposition politician calls for "dialogue" with Russia

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Oct. 28, 2009, 8:53 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine
Moscow, October 28 (Interfax) - Georgian opposition politician Zurab Nogaideli and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, at a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, discussed "the current complicated situation in Russian-Georgian relations" and "problems of the Transcaucasian region," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Earlier, Nogaideli, who is a former Georgian prime minister and today leads a party called Movement for a Just Georgia, advocated Georgian-Russian dialogue without preconditions and the reunification of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Georgia.

"The unification of Georgia - everything is subjected to this main objective, everything else are mere mechanisms," Nogaideli told a news conference where he spoke about results of his visit to Moscow.

"There is no military solution to this problem nor can there be any, least of all after the events of last year, and so we must start a dialogue, but not yet a dialogue on status," he said.

"It is with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and not with Russia that we must hold negotiations on the unification of Georgia. But any negotiations can only produce results if there is no sharp confrontation between Georgia and Russia, and no preliminary conditions must be made for negotiations to start," Nogaideli said.

"[Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili is setting many preliminary conditions for negotiations to start that can not be fulfilled, nor can we really see any desire on the part of Saakashvili to hold a dialogue," the ex-premier said.

As for contacts between Georgia, on the one hand, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, on the other, "the first point is to rule out a military conflict and the second point is to restore relations and economic and transportation links between the populations of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to resume bus and rail traffic," he said.
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