US Vice President Joe Biden will head for Georgia today, after a visit to Ukraine that called for a delicate diplomatic balancing act.
Mindful of the White House plan to press the “reset” button with Moscow, Biden also assured Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko that this will not come at Kiev’s expense.
Yuschenko wants closer ties with the West – but feuding with his former ally Yulia Tymoshenko has paralysed decision-making and raised concerns in Washington about Ukraine’s stability.
Biden is due to arrive in Tbilisi from Kiev later today. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili proposed a series of electoral reforms to parliament yesterday, ahead of Biden’s visit.
Tbilisi also says it is holding “preliminary talks” on US involvement in the EU monitoring mission on the boundaries of Georgia’s two pro-Russian separatist regions.
More than 200 were deployed last year after a five-day conflict when Russia crushed a Georgian assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Observers say Moscow is unlikely to welcome a broadening of their mandate.