TBILISI, DFWatch – Russian President Dimitry Medvedev says the Russian and Georgian people should have relations and thinks it’s therefore necessary to restore trade relation.
The president made this statement on Monday during a meeting with his supporters.
“We have certain trade issues with them. As you know, at some point we prohibited importing certain types of products; there were some other problems too. I consider that in the frameworks of the civilized dialog with our neighbor we should slowly form and restore this relation,” Medvedev said, and named air traffic as an example of an area where there should be more cooperation.
The trade relations between Russia and Georgia went into difficulties in 2006, after Georgia arrested four alleged Russian spies. Following the arrests, Kremlin imposed an embargo on Georgian products based on non-fulfillment of sanitary norms. Several fields of Georgian agriculture were hit hard as a result. Especially wine-making and the mineral waters industry suffered, because much of their produce was sold to Russia.
Russian produce, on the other hand, is imported to Georgia without restrictions. After the war in August 2008, when Russia occupied Georgian territories, diplomatic relations were severed between the two countries.
Head of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Giorgi Kandelaki says that this problem is not created by Georgia and if Russia is thinking of solving it, such a decision will be saluted.
“This indicates that Medvedev and the Russian government perfectly understand that by not talking with the Georgian government and by occupying our territories they got into a deadlock,” he said.
This is the second time the Russian president says he wants to restore diplomatic relations with Georgia, the first being January 25 at a meeting with students.
“We are absolutely ready to restore diplomatic relations with Georgia. We didn’t break them off. There is only one person I don’t want to have business with. You probably know who I am talking about; I won’t meet him and shake his hand,” Medvedev said then.
He also mentioned that he very much wants the estrangement phase to be finished as soon as possible.
“Several steps have been already taken in this direction. Specifically, flights are restored between the two countries. It’s necessary to ease the contact between people.”
Georgian governmental officials commented that they never refused to have negotiations, but sets as a precondition that Russia ends its occupation of Georgian territories.