zurab abashidze

Zurab Abashidze. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, will meet with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia, Gregory Karasin, in Prague on September 19.

Abashidze said Monday that they will discuss issues like export of Georgian product to Russia, cultural issues, and transport.

“We will discuss these issues on the level of ideas and we will have further discussion on these issues at the next level of our talks,” Abashidze told journalists on Monday.

Abashidze earlier said the Prague meeting will deal with visa rules, transport relations and opening regular flights between Russia and Georgia.

He and Karasin have met a handful of times for talks aimed at removing obstacles to trade between Georgia and Russia, which have no formal diplomatic relations.

The Abashidze-Karasin talks were initiated by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili after winning the election last year on a promise to improve relations with Russia. Georgia severed formal relations after the 2008 war.

Since the first such meeting in December 2012 in Geneva, Georgian wine and mineral water has been allowed onto the Russian market. Georgia is also negotiating about allowing the export of agricultural products.

Russia banned Georgian and Moldovan wine and in 2006, ostensibly because of low quality. The decision was perceived as a political sanction for Georgia detaining four Russian diplomats and accusing them of being spies. Later there was extensive persecution and expulsion of Georgians from Russia.