TBILISI, DFWatch–The recent border reinforcement work by Russian soldiers near South Ossetia was one of the topics at the fourth round of bilateral talks between Russia and Georgia in Prague Thursday.
Georgia was represented by the Prime Minister’s Special Representative in Russian Relations, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Grigory Karasin.
Abashidze told Interpressnews that he expressed concern about the actions of Russian soldiers in recent days in the conflict zone close to the disputed South Ossetian territory. He said that at the beginning of the meeting that the recent actions in the village Ditsi is a gross violation of international standards and humanitarian norms, which will dramatically impact the lives and conditions of the local population in the area.
Abashidze also said that Georgia will raise this issue at the next round of Geneva talks; a regular meeting between the warring parties in the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008.
Georgia and Russia have not had formal diplomatic relations after the 2008 war, but Prime Minister Ivanishvili opened a channel of limited talks in 2012, delivering on an election promise to improve relations.
Abashidze and Karasin discussed the realization of the agreements achieved during their previous talks. He said this included the possibility to restore trade relations within the last nine months which has led to Georgian products now being exported to the Russian market.
“There were steps taken in order to solve problems of goods turnover and movement of travellers,” he said adding that a process to simplify visa rules for certain categories of Georgians is also in progress.
Abashidze said they also talked about issues which will be reviewed during future meetings.
“We also spoke about specific issues in humanitarian and cultural relations,” he said, without specifying details.