Russia, Georgia pledge to end wranglingJune 6th, 2008 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS
Strelna (Russia), June 6 (RIA Novosti) The presidents of Russia and Georgia Friday said they would tackle the controversial issues that have plagued bilateral relations in recent years. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said: “I believe we are capable of resolving all problems” without mediators.
His counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili said there were a lot of “unresolved issues in bilateral relations, but none are unsolvable”.
The leaders met ahead of an informal summit of the Confederation of Independent States (CIS) near St. Petersburg.
Tensions between the former Soviet republics have increased after the Western-leaning Saakashvili came to power in the Caucasus country in early 2004.
The long-running row over Moscow’s alleged support for Georgia’s breakaway regions, Abkhazia and Ossetia, along with Tbilisi’s plans to join the NATO, have been major factors behind the ongoing dispute.
In the latest development, Georgia accused Russia of shooting down an unmanned reconnaissance plane over Abkhazia in April. Moscow denies any involvement in the incident.
Saakashvili said the “current situation was unnatural and of no benefit to any state”.
It was Medvedev’s first meeting with the Georgian leader since he took office in early May, replacing Vladimir Putin.
On Friday, Medvedev met Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko at the Constantine Palace on the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg.
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