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Meeting between Georgian and Russian presidents not on agenda

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 23
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili stated that no preparatory activities have been launched for his and the Russian President’s meeting.

“Do you remember Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remark that he would not be against such a meeting? However, the remark remained just that – a remark, and no active steps have been taken to prepare such a meeting,” Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili said that the new environment that was shaped after World War II lead to a new consensus – to respect the sovereignty of states; there were agreements. The main forum of the agreements was the UN.

“What started in Georgia in 2008 and deepened in Crimea in 2014, puts all global agreements in question, according to which over 200 states established relations based on certain principles. Breaking the stability concerns not only Georgia and Ukraine, but the whole world,” Mrgvelashvili said.

He further explained that Georgia remains peaceful, claiming that everything develops according to the common course. However, he said no hysteria is necessary in such a situation. “We must assess the changes and threats that we face calmly,” Margvelashvili said, adding that even though he cannot see a direct threat from the Russian Federation, it does not mean there are not any.

“There have not been immediate steps from Russia, and I hope there will not be any. However, we look at this situation with attention. This means we must be cautious and observing carefully and to be simultaneously vigilant and calm. We must not increase or trigger the danger unnecessarily,” Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili also commented on the law on citizenship the Russian President recently signed. The law aims at simplifying procedures for Russian-speakers in the former Soviet Union to obtain Russian citizenship and on obligations for migrant laborers working in Russia.

According to ITAR-TASS, on April 21, the law on citizenship makes it possible for any Russian-speaking person "who has consistently been living, or has relatives who have consistently been living or earlier were living on the territory of the Russian Federation, including the territory of the Russian Empire or USSR," to obtain Russian citizenship and relocate to Russia.

Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze said the law regarding the facilitation of issuing Russian passports to those living in post-Soviet states is “nothing special”. “But we must be very careful,” Abashidze remarked.

Givi Targamadze, member of the opposition United National Movement, stated that currently, “Russia has no time for Georgia”, as the federation is waiting for the following developments in Ukraine.

“Our turn will come only afterwards,” Targamadze said.

Analyst Kakha Gogolashvili stated that Russia is making provocative steps and threats from the federation really exists.

The analyst said that the government of Georgia should take the necessary steps, for example ban Russian passports in Georgia and review the law regarding double citizenship.

Gogolashvili told The Messenger that the current steps made by the Georgian officials in terms of Russia are balanced.