TBILISI, DFWatch–Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin says it is not necessary to begin threatening sanctions yet, but that Georgia and Russia should sit down and carefully calculate what changes Georgia’s new free trade treaty with the EU might lead to in trade relations between Russia and Georgia.
“And then we proceed from this in subsequent decisions,” he said.
Karasin met with Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Representative for Russian Relations, in Prague on Wednesday.
Abashidze said after meeting that no ‘dramatic or significant’ changes are expected in trade and economic relations.
“However, Russia is trying to generally find out more about this new reality, whether Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova’s association agreements may create a danger to Russia’s economy and market,” he said.
Abashidze added that Georgia sees no resistance, but Russia will continue its own examinations and if it is necessary to exchange more information or a need for more contact about this, Georgia is ready for that.
During the meeting, they summed up the practical results of the cooperation that has been in recent years. Trade has increased 50 percent between the two states and there is a discussion to increase export of Georgian products on the Russian market this year, according to a statement published by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
They also discussed whether to resume regular flights between Moscow and Tbilisi from September 15.
Abashidze and Karasin also discussed the decision by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that Russia violated human rights in 2006 when it expelled thousands of Georgians.
Russia started mass deportation of Georgians after four Russian officers were detained in Georgia and accused of being spies.
Abashidze said that he remembered the ‘drama’ in 2006 and said the court’s decision was ‘absolutely fair.’ He said that Karasin’s position is that work must continue on this issue in the court.
Karasin said that in 2006, Russia only violated procedures for deportation and the court’s decision was ‘difficult.’
“Unequivocally saying that it was a political victory for the Georgian side is wrong,” he told journalists after the meeting, adding that it is important to avoid such political incidents in the future.
Two days before the Abashidze-Karasin meeting, there was a so-called expert meeting of government officials between the two sides, also in Prague.
According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, they primarily discussed new factors arising in bilateral trade and economic relations after Georgia signed an association agreement which will involve joining a free trade zone with the European Union. The meeting was held in ‘constructive atmosphere’ according to the ministry.