Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili made a work visit to Estonia, a Baltic nation, a republic of the former Soviet Union. In Estonia, Saakashvili had officials meetings with his counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet. It was Saakashvili’s first visit to Estonia since the end of the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia in August of 2008.
Saakashvili arrived in Estonia to discuss the situation in his country, as well as the issues of economic cooperation, the EU and NATO membership, officials of the Georgian delegation said.
The Estonian president assured his Georgian counterpart that Estonia would remain a reliable ally for Georgia. Toomas Ilves particularly emphasized that Georgia’s progress in the field of anti-corruption struggle was especially significant. This aspect deserves attention because fighting corruption is a mandatory condition for a country to start the procedure of becoming a member of NATO.
Will Georgia eventually be incorporated into the North Atlantic Alliance? Inal Pliyev, a senior official of the government of South Ossetia (the republic, which Georgia attacked in the summer of 2008) said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Saakashvili still dreams of joining the EU and NATO.
“He went to Estonia to win the support of the Estonian administration which, as he hopes, will show a positive influence on other members of NATO. He believes that it will help solve all of Georgia’s problems, including the ones with Russia. I am certain, however, that the EU or NATO membership is not something that Georgia will have in the near future. Why does Saakashvili visit other countries so seldom after the war in 2008? He does want to visit Western countries and meet Western leaders. But they do not want that, because Saakashvili’s company will make their ratings drop.
“That is why the only thing that Saakashvili can do now is try to find a way to the European Union and NATO with the help of the countries that stake on Russophobia and nationalism. Estonia is one of those countries, but it would be silly for Saakashvili to pin great hopes to that. The leaders of such key European countries like Germany, Italy and France are strongly against it,” Mr. Pliyev said.
Ramaz Sakvarelidze, a scientist of politics from Georgia, believes that Saakashvili arrived in Estonia with a view to discuss the future of his nation as a member of the EU and NATO.
“There was a short news conference which the two presidents gave and that was basically it. The Estonian leader only confirmed that he would help Georgia join the organizations. No one knows how he is going to accomplish that. There is some mystery to the entire story here. This visit will not solve anything, of course, but it would give the whole matter a go at least. The Estonian administration will lobby Georgia’s interests in NATO and the EU.
“The Georgian president understands that he does not have many allies to choose from at the moment. His primary ally in Eastern Europe – Viktor Yushchenko – has lost the presidential election in Ukraine. Saakashvili understands that he gradually finds himself in international isolation. In Western Europe, this person is viewed as a persona non grata.
“He understands that no one in the West wants to meet him. His image in the West can be destroyed entirely, especially after The Hague Tribunal accepted the documents from South Ossetia about Saakashvili’s crimes against humanity. It seems to me that Estonia is the only one country that supports Saakashvili at the moment. Two other Baltic nations – Lithuania and Latvia – prefer to stay away from him,” the specialist said.
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