Russia and Georgia Meet for Talks, then Suspend Them

karasin101508.jpgWell, that sure was fast. Today for the first time since war broke out between the two countries, delegations from Russia and Georgia met at the United Nations in Geneva for peace talks aimed at resolving tensions. However, no sooner than the Russians and Georgians decided to meet for talks, they decided not to talk, and suspended the meetings. Perhaps neither side has all that much to gain politically at the current juncture while the United States crawls toward the November elections (indeed, they have been postponed until Nov. 18). Some people believe that the peace talks are just one of many stunts from Georgia in order to keep the international media spotlight pointed in their direction, but this doesn’t reconcile with reports that it was the Russian delegation which stormed out of the Geneva summit. That makes sense. Just earlier today President Mikheil Saakashvili told the FT that “The financial crisis could work both ways. It could make the Russians more realistic, down to earth and pragmatic. (…) But there is a fair chance that, with their kind of mindset, it could make them more aggressive, in order to make public opinion less critical of economic developments.” Let’s hope that his latter thesis is proven incorrect. Photo: Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, speaks during a press conference after a closed meeting of the Caucasus talks to try to settle the Russia-Georgia conflict, in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008. (Source: AP Photo/Keystone, Laurent Gillieron)