The messenger logo

Russian deputy FM warns Georgia about ‘unpleasant surprises’

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 1
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin has warned Georgia about "unpleasant surprises,” after his meeting with Georgian Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze in Prague on Wednesday.

"My message is the same. We should continue to develop relations and I would like to warn my Georgian colleagues about possible unpleasant surprises, as they will be unpleasant for both countries,“ Karasin told the Radio Liberty.

Russian envoy described the meeting as “comprehensive and constructive” but he expressed concern regarding Georgia-NATO upcoming military training scheduled for March.

“NATO's large-scale drills do not add any optimism as well because they do not contribute to ensuring stability and strengthening mutual trust in the region,” he told Russian media.

Abashidze stated that Karasin told nothing about such surprises during the meeting.

Georgian envoy said that trade-economic issues were in focus of the meeting based on its format, however, he also raised several political issues.

“I have spoken about the severe humanitarian situation in the two occupied regions of Georgia Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and brought the example of the violation of international law. In the context Karasin said that such issues should be discussed within the Geneva International Discussions format,” Abashidze said.

Georgian PM”s representative said the conversation also covered the issues related to the implementation of the 2011 Agreement between the Government of Georgia and the Government of the Russian Federation on Key Principles of Monitoring Mechanisms for Customs Administration and Trade in Goods.

As it was pointed out, problems arising in relation to the full commencement of the agreement must be resolved within the working groups established by the joint committee under the agreement.

The role of the Geneva International Talks as the main format of Georgia-Russia discussions on security and humanitarian issues was emphasized during the meeting.

The so-called Abashidze-Karasin meetings format was launched in late 2012, under the Georgian Dream leadership and cover only humanitarian, trade and economic issues as Georgia and Russia have no diplomatic relations after the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.

In its essence, the format does not touch upon politics. Political issues are mainly in focus of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings, local meetings where international negotiators facilitate talks between Georgia, Russia and the de-facto leadership of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, and the Geneva International Discussions.

Since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, the Geneva International Discussions have been the only format of an international dialogue between Georgia and Russia. At the meeting, according to the August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, issues including non-use of force, the creation of international security arrangements in breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, and safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees are discussed.