Crisis in Caucasus ‘opportunity’: Tbilisi

Crisis in Caucasus ‘opportunity’: Tbilisi


The Georgian president suggested to Turkey the creation of a zone of stability with peaceful and friendly nations. AFP photo

“Without changing or even questioning existing borders, I believe that the Northern Caucasus should also have much closer ties with the southern part of the Caucasus, and especially with Georgia. This is unavoidable, because Russia is having more problems. People-to-people relations will grow more and more. From that point of view, Tbilisi is a natural center for all these activities,” the Georgian president said. After taking power in the 2003 Rose Revolution, Saakashvili led Georgia on a strongly pro-Western course aiming for NATO membership that antagonized Moscow.

“My vision is simple: we need to turn an arc of crisis into an area of cooperation. The problem is that this vision is not shared by everybody, especially in Moscow. ... This is an ongoing fight, but a fight worth having since it is at the end of the day in the interest of all our countries,” he said.

The Georgian president also suggested to Turkey the creation of a zone of stability with peaceful and friendly nations around it.

“Georgia was maybe the best case of Turkey’s famous policy of ‘zero problems with neighbors.’ From that point of view, both sides had a shared interest and we developed our relationship as never before,” he told the Turkish Policy Quarterly. “This relationship is vital for Georgia, but also crucial for Europe in general. It allows the South Caucasus to become this East-West corridor I was speaking about. It offers Europeans an alternative road to Asia and it divides the North-South axis that is creating well-known problems for world stability and for Western interests, too.”