TBILISI, DFWatch–A second meeting between Georgian and Russian representatives will be held on March 1, 2013, in a European country, but not in Geneva.
Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations, said in an interview on Maestro TV that there are still negotiations about which country the meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin should be held in.
Zurab Abashidze said the main topic of the upcoming meeting will be the winter Olympics in Sochi, a resort town located on the border between Russia and the Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia.
“Sochi Olympics may raise many political issues,” he said, adding that Georgian teams will also participate in next year’s winter games.
During Saakashvili’s government, Georgia refused to participate in the Sochi Winter Olympics; however when the government changed hands to the Georgian Dream coalition, the country changed its position.
In December, 2014, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said that Georgia will participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“We want to put relations with Russia in order and at the same time we refuse to participate in Olympics,” he said remembering ancient Greece, where wars stopped during the Olympics. “So what is wrong with us not participating in the Olympics and punishing our sportsmen?”
Maia Panjikidze, Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister on Friday said that Karasin and Abashidze will also review security issues and nuances on consular issues, which are related to the participation of Georgian teams in the Olympics.
“We are not boycotting the Sochi Olympic Games. We want our sportsmen to participate, but certain conditions need to be created for this, because competitions will be held in a country with which we do not have diplomatic relations,” she said.
The minister also explained that Georgia refused to hold the second such meeting in Geneva, because there shouldn’t be any relation between the two different forms of diplomatic contact with Russia, the other being the Geneva talks between the warring parties from 2008.
The Winter Olympics in Sochi will be held from 7 to 23 February 2014.
December 14, 2013, Gregory Karasin and Zurab Abashidze held their first meeting in Geneva and agreed to continue the dialogue.