Mr Putin assured Mr Shevardnadze that Georgia could count on Russia’s full support in addressing its economic problems.
People in Russia followed with great concern the latest domestic political developments in Georgia, the Russian head of state said. He noted that Mr Shevardnadze’s political experience had enabled the republic’s leadership to avert a political confrontation in the country.
In turn, the President of Georgia said he attached great significance to the meeting and considered it to be a watershed event. He pointed out that he had come to Russia despite the controversy in Georgia about the wisdom of his visit. That the situation was complex was evident from a statement issued by the Georgian Foreign Ministry today. The statement contained a warning about possible retaliatory measures against Russia, which Tbilisi accused of violating the republic’s airspace and bombing its territory on the night of November 27–28.
Russia categorically denied those charges, stressing that no aircraft were airborne in the area of the Russian-Georgian border.
The Presidents of Russia and Georgia said they intended to make a close study of the issue of Chechen refugees in Georgia and find a solution to the problem. Mr Putin said a distinction must be drawn between refugees and militants.
The two leaders exchanged views on the situation in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict area, and prospects for economic and security cooperation. The sides agreed to redouble their efforts towards drafting a full-scale treaty between the two countries.
The Russian head of state praised the results of his meeting with the Georgian President.