Georgia has been laying on a charm offensive at NATO headquarters in Brussels, with demonstrations of traditional dancing, a choir and Georgian wine. Increasingly on the wrong side of Russia, over differing positions on breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia is mustering all the friends it can. For this diplomatic operation, Tbilissi sent deputy minister of defence Batu Kutelia.
He said: “We have huge support for our European partners in terms of the political support of the peaceful resolution of the conflict. In this type of involvement, the support is increasing daily. So that’s why our main guideline and our main purpose for the peaceful resolution of the conflict is to internationalize it, to have more broad international presence.”
The latest exchange between Georgia and Russia was criticism by the president in Tbillisi of peacekeeping troops sent to the disputed regions by Moscow.
Speaking just days after a helicopter attack on the disputed Kodori gorge in Abkhazia (Russia denied involvement), Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on Thursday effectively said Russian troops should leave Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The European Union, seeking to develop energy supply partners, is keen to promote stability in the Caucasus region and what it has called “vital ties” with Georgia. The EU said last month that Georgia must not be broken up.