TBILISI, DFWatch–Russia thinks Georgia should take the first steps toward restoring diplomatic relations, but Georgia answers that restoring diplomatic relations with Russia is not on the agenda right now.
Gregory Karasin, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, on Thursday told Ria Novosti (http://ria.ru/world/20140619/1012694407.html) that everything should be done to restore the good traditions that existed between the peoples of Georgia and Russia.
Karasin said it wasn’t Russia that broke off diplomatic relations in August 2008.
“Probably it’s not we who should be thinking of the formal aspect of their recovery,” he remarked.
Irine Imerlishvili, Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council, responded the same day that there are formal frames for talks between Russia and Georgia where this issue can be considered: the Geneva talks or the regular meetings between Karasin and Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s Representative for Russian Relations.
Karasin said he thinks it is now necessary to discuss practical issues in terms of transport, trade and humanitarian issues.
“There is a difficult condition, but, as we say, the road is made by walking [дорогу осилит идущий] and we intend to continue down this road together, ” he added.
He continued saying that the next meeting with Abashidze is scheduled for mid-July and they will discuss issues in three areas, which are possible to discuss without having diplomatic relations.
Zurab Abashidze told Interpressnews on Thursday that restoring diplomatic relations with Russia is not on the agenda today, unless there is progress regarding regulating the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but there should be “a serious breakthrough.” Otherwise, considering the restoration of relations with Russia will be a confirmation that Tskhinvali and Abkhazia aren’t part of Georgia anymore.
There was a five-day Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 after which Georgia broke diplomatic relations with Russia. Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Since then, there are being held regular talks between the conflict parties in Geneva to regulate conflict issues. There are also regular meetings, hosted by the European Union, in Ergneti, a village on the border close to Tskhinvali, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, where conflicting parties discuss everyday problems of people living in villages close to the boundary line, and also discuss exchanging detainees.
After the change of government in Georgia at the end of 2012, the new government started holding direct talks with Russia. The Karasin and Abashidze talks have been held regularly in Prague and involved issues to do with transport, trade and economy.