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Georgia Believes Dialogue With Rodionov Possible

Tbilisi, July 18 (RFE/RL) - Senior Georgian officials say the appointment of General Igor Rodionov as Russia's Defence Minister will not harm Georgia's relations with Russia.

It was the first official comment from Tbilisi since Rodionov's appointment yesterday. Rodionov held Soviet military posts in Afghanistan and Georgia in the 1980's. His troops used shovels and poisonous chemicals to disperse an independence rally in Tbilisi April 9, 1989, killing about 20 people.

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said today April 9 is still a deep wound for Georgia. He says generals obeyed the orders of their bosses, whether in Tbilisi or in Afghanistan, but that only those who gave orders and took decisions usually face the trial of history.

The chairman of the Georgian parliament's foreign relations committee, Kakhi Chitaya, told Georgian television viewers today Rodionov's appointment is psychologically very difficult for Georgians to accept. But Chitaya says dialogue on issues of mutual interest is possible. He says Georgia should meet Rodionov since relations between countries are determined not by individuals and their personal interests but by the state interests of those countries.