The Abashidze-Karasin talks
By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 1The talks between Special Georgian Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Karasin’s are limited in terms of scope and possible concessions. Moscow has categorically rejected the possibility of de-occupying the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It even denies occupying them, claiming both are independent countries. Achieving reintegration of its breakaway territories is Tbilisi's goal so it seems no possibilities exist to improve relations between the two countries.
Zurab Abashidze and Sergey Karasin agreed that they would not discuss the most acute problems between the two countries including the 2008 war. Russia hopes that Georgia will recognize the loss of the two breakaway regions and will eventually return to the Russian orbit by rejoining the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the proposed Eurasian Union.
The first round of dialogues took place on December 14, 2012: just two months later Abashidze thinks that the first dialogue has already brought some positive results.
• There is currently almost no speculation about possible armed conflict between the two countries.
• The real prospect of returning Georgian products to the Russian market has appeared.
• There is the possibility of establishing regular flights between the two countries instead of just charter flights.
• The Georgian diaspora in Russia has become more active in expressing its interest towards participation in the investment policy in Georgia.
However, there are still some topics which are unlikely to be solved soon. For instance, the abolishment of visas for Georgian citizens visiting Russia seems unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
Though no concrete agend for the forthcoming round of talks is known, presumably one of the major topics to be discussed at the next round of meetings will be the Georgia's participation in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014. Members of Georgia's previous government have announced plans to boycott to the Sochi Games. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s administration has expressed its readiness to send Georgian athletes to the Sochi Olympics. However, the Georgian side wants a guarantee from Russia that if Georgian athletes attend the Olympic Games, no delegations from Abkhazia and South Ossetia (either official or unofficial) will be present.
Attitudes in Georgia towards the two countries' relations differ. Some part of the population Georgians thinks that the main reason for Moscow's irritation was President Mikheil Saakashvili and his party; others think that Russia was annoyed by Georgia as an independent country.
The results of the every round of negotiations are very important and much depends on the results of this round in particular.