'A first, successful step in Georgian-Russian relations was taken in the Kremlin meeting with Vladimir Putin,' Mikhail Saakashvili declared at a press conference here Thursday. The Georgia president had returned to Tbilisi after his first visit to Moscow the night before. The Georgian president said further steps in bringing about greater closeness with Russia must follow. 'We are not going to fix things in one swoop,' he said.
Saakashvili expressed satisfaction with his visit to Moscow in general and with his conversation with Putin, which lasted four hours as against a planned single hour. This is the first time in 12 years, Saakashvili said, that we see an improving trend in Georgian-Russian relations. 'We were met with notable warmth,' the Georgian president said, 'and we parted on even friendlier terms.'
He further said: 'Georgia is not changing any of its principal positions, but that need not be a bone of contention between the two countries' [he was referring specifically to the scheduling of the removal of Russian military bases from Georgian territory, Rosbalt]. 'We are embarking on mutual concessions, and we will guard the Georgian-Russian frontier together, improve relations with Russian energy companies and gradually move to a peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict,' Saakashvili declared.