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Georgia To Offer Putin An Olive Branch --> Russian President Vladimir Putin (seated) and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) November 17, 2006 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says he plans to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin a conciliatory message later this month in an effort to halt the deterioration in Georgia's relations with Russia.

In an interview with the British newspaper "The Financial Times," Saakashvili reportedly made clear his olive branch to Putin would be offered without compromising Georgia's positions on issues ranging from trade to the status of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Saakashvili said Georgia wants to be seen as a small country with its own interests, rather than as part of an international balance of power.

Saakashvili's comments come in advance of a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Commonwealth of Independent States summit to be held at the end of this month in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

(Reuters, AFP)

Moscow And Tbilisi

Russian military hardware being withdrawn from a Russian base in Batumi, Georgia, in August 2005 (TASS)

WHAT COMES NEXT? Although Russia is unlikely to push an aggressive military response to the current tensions with Georgia, it has a number of economic, political, and diplomatic options at its disposal. Already on October 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned his inner circle to weigh Moscow's options... (more)


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MORE: Coverage of the situation in Georgian from RFE/RL's Georgian Service and in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.


RFE/RL's English-language coverage of Georgia and Russia.