Georgia's long tradition as a crossroads of East-West commerce was interrupted by the trade practices of the Soviet Union and then by Gamsakhurdia's isolationist policy. Although the Shevardnadze government sought to revive the national economy by reinstating ties with both East and West, in 1992 and 1993 domestic turmoil prevented major steps in that direction. In 1993 Shevardnadze traveled widely among the former Soviet republics (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan) and elsewhere (Germany, China, and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Belgium) to solidify Georgia's international position and solicit aid. By September, Georgia had diplomatic relations with seventy-eight countries and economic cooperation treaties with sixteen.
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