Medvedev expects good relations with Georgia
By Temuri Kiguradze
Thursday, December 10Dmitry Medvedev has said that he expects the liquidation of the visa regime with Georgia “some day in the future.”
Speaking on December 9 the Russian leader noted that his country “is moving towards a visaless regime with the European Union.” “I hope that these days will come for Georgia and Russia one day,” Medvedev told Russian journalists.
Referring to the problems in Russian-Georgian relations, Dmitry Medvedev said that it was not Russia's fault that these problems existed. “I have stated several times that I’m not going to negotiate with the current [Georgian] President and some other officials. Our ways have parted and we look at events in different ways. I consider that President Saakashvili bears the direct responsibility for his crimes,” stated the Russian leader, noting however that he is not going refuse “other relations”. “There is a centuries-long friendship between our peoples, we have a special history of relations,” concluded the President.
Medvedev's statements have already provoked a reaction in Tbilisi. “With these so-called positive gestures Medvedev is trying to legalise his “new reality” – the declaration that Abkhazia and Tskhinvali are independent - and settle relations with “the rest of Georgia” on this basis," stated Akaki Minashvili, the Georgian MP who heads the Foreign Relations Committee of Parliament. “The elimination of the visa regime and the resumption of transport links with Russia are not so important for us now, when 20 percent of Georgia is under occupation,” stated Minashvili.
Another Georgian MP, Goka Gabashvili, noted that Georgia will welcome resolving relations with Russia but only after Russian forces leave Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “While the Kremlin has “state relations” with Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia real improvement of Russian-Georgian relations is impossible,” stated Gabashvili. He also touched upon the issue of the possible Georgian-Russian border reopening at the Zemo Larsi checkpoint. ‘This process should be conducted under the strictest control of the Government in order not to give Russia the possibility of causing provocations,” concluded Gabashvili.
Medvedev's statement was made on the same day that the Georgian Parliament was discussing the draft of an appeal to the international community to impose sanctions on Russia. “The whole world is united in its attitude towards the aggression of Russia, however at this stage this condemnation takes the form of resolutions only. This is not enough for the people that live in the occupied territories, and that means that international organisations start imposing sanctions,” stated Shota Malashkhi, the MP who heads the Temporary Parliamentary Commission on the Restoration of Territorial Integrity, on December 9.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia were formally broken after the August war, when Russian forces entered the Georgian separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. All direct transport links were also broken. The interests of both countries are represented by the Swiss Embassies in Tbilisi and Moscow.