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Russia’s Foreign Ministry: Georgian officials’ unfriendly statements contradict constructive dialogue

By Messenger Staff
Monday, March 21
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says “frequent unfriendly statements voiced by Georgian officials to Russia contradict the tendency of constructive relations”.

The Russian official body released a statement on its webpage in the wake of the meeting of Georgia’s and Russia’s special envoys in Prague held on March 16.

The Ministry said Russia “was interested in bilateral, consecutive future cooperation with Georgia”, but the recent unfriendly statements of Georgian officials could create threats for such constructive communications.

The Russian body also touched upon several other topics of discussions between Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigori Karasin, in Prague.

The Ministry said the pair spoke about a range of issues with the main focus on the regional economy.

It stated that despite last year’s slowdown, economic turnout between the two nations was still increasing and Russia was Georgia’s second biggest trade partner.

Before starting the meeting with Abashidze, Karasin also criticized Georgian politicians for their “anti-Russian rhetoric” and said the upcoming parliamentary elections could be a big threat for Georgian-Russian relations.

Karasin also condemned Georgia’s Occupation Law adopted in October 2008 after the Russian-Georgian war, and said the law might create obstacles for Russian diplomats to attend the 25th annual session of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Tbilisi on July 1-5 this year.

The Law, which defined the status of the Georgian territories currently occupied by Russia, envisaged special rules for the people living in the de-facto regions as well as towards those who ignored Georgia’s legislation.

Russia also told OSCE to find another venue for the annual gathering if Georgia failed to make changes in the law and disturbed Russian representatives participating in the session.

Georgian parliamentary majority lawmakers opposed the rejection of the law, but they did not exclude some minor changes for the purpose of the OSCE event.

In response to Karasin’s harsh statements about “anti-Russian rhetoric” and the “threat” of the upcoming elections, the majority representatives said that the Russian official did not have any right to make his comments.

Moreover, majority leader Zviad Kvachantiradze said the Abashidze-Karasin format - the only format of direct communication between Georgia and Russia since 2012 - might be reviewed.

However, Abashidze - who has already returned to Georgia - said that suspension of the format “would increase problems” between the two nations, as dialogue with Russia was necessary.

When asked to comment on Karasin’s statements, Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said he had not heard Karasin's exact words but said he believed that when speaking about the atmosphere in Georgia, Russian politicians first needed to pay attention to their own approaches.

"Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is what will make it possible for us to fully normalise relations with Russia,” Kvirikashvili said.

Meanwhile, Karasin also said Georgia should not wait for visa-free travel to Russia, despite the fact that about a month ago, positive statements were made in this regard.

The Russian attitude confirms the Federation’s cynicism and the country’s views towards other nations.

Russia - which occupies 20% of Georgia's territory - accuses Georgia of making anti-Russian statements, when the current Georgian Government is frequently targeted by the opposition for its pragmatic policy to the enemy.

Unfortunately, it is the fate of small nations to pursue pragmatism so as not to be trapped and annihilated by big powers.