TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia and Russia met for the fifth time Thursday in Prague within the diplomatic channel established by the government that came to power a year ago.
After the meeting, Georgia’s representative Zurab Abashidze said discussions dealt with practical things like trade, transport, humanitarian and cultural relations. In the beginning, they agreed not to discuss issues that are on the agenda of the Geneva talks, which are held regularly between the parties in the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008.
“We remarked that most of the agenda which we prepared one year ago is in fact fulfilled,” said Abashidze, whose full title is the Georgian Prime Minister’s Representative for Russian Relations.
He recalled the opening of the Russian market for Georgian wine, mineral water and agriculture product as one tangible result.
“I hope that by the end of the year, Georgian export will be fully restored.”
Abashidze said that he and his counterpart Grigory Karasin are also looking into simplifying visa rules for Georgian citizens, and he was informed that Russia is taking certain steps toward introducing such rules.
The number of the Russians visiting Georgia has increased by 50 percent since visa requirements for them were lifted, and nos is about 660 000, Abashidze writes.
He notes that newly approved Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili both say they support continuing the Abashidze-Karasin talks, in order to solve problems between the two states. Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia after the war in 2008.
Grigory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, told journalists after the meeting that the ‘maniacal hostility’ which manifested itself during the previous government is a thing of the past.
He said that the two sides have a constructive period ahead, and will seek common decisions, which will be based on bilateral interests. This will include taking care of people, humanitarian ties, taking common steps to decide economic and social issues and participate in international events together.