TBILISI, DFWatch–Russia and Georgia will resume their one-on-one talks in Prague in the end of February, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in an announcement.
The so-called Abashidze-Karasin talks, which are limited in scope to economic and other practical issues, have been stalled.
The ministry’s update says Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian prime minister’s special envoy for these talks, and Gregory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, had a phone conversation and agreed to meet in late February.
Abashidze told journalists on Tuesday that one of the main topics will be a treaty signed by Georgia and Russia in 2011 about principles for customs administration and mechanisms for monitoring trade. The Swiss company SGS was selected to implement this agreement and monitor the trade of goods between the two countries.
The delicate issue will be handled by having a separate committee, located in Geneva, that will monitor the trade. The committee will have members from Georgia, Russia and Switzerland.
“We must agree with Russia now, as we start the practical implementation,” Abashidze said. He recalled that the agreement was signed in 2011 as Russia was joining WTO, which Georgia supported.
The first Abashidze-Karasin meeting took place in December, 2012, in Geneva. Since then they held seven meetings in Prague, the last one in mid October, 2014.
There have been no diplomatic relations between the two countries since they were at war with each other in August, 2008. The conflicting parties are also involved in the Geneva talks, as well as the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, the latter a type of field meeting held at Ergneti, a village straddling the border separating the breakaway region South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia.