Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that “modest positive signals” are coming from Georgia’s new government, but stressed that Moscow and Tbilisi were deadlocked on the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and he did not know how to get out of this impasse.
He made the remarks at a live televised news conference on December 20 while responding a question about Georgian-Russian relations.
“We see positive signals – so far very modest, but anyway positive signals coming from Georgia’s new leadership. Not only we see that a special representative of the Georgian government for relations with Russia has been appointed, but we also welcome it,” Putin said and added that Moscow reciprocated and tasked Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin to hold talks with Georgian PM’s special envoy Zurab Abashidze; the two diplomats met in Switzerland on December 14.
“But I want to pay your attention to a problem, which is known very well. It involves the fact that [Georgia’s] incumbent President [Mikheil Saakashvili] brought the situation into deadlock and to say the truth I do not understand how to get out of this [deadlock],” he said.
“Russia cannot revoke its decision related to recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We cannot do it, in principle. And Georgia cannot agree to recognize their [Abkhazia, S.Ossetia] independent status. I cannot imagine what can be done in this situation,” Putin said.
“We really want to normalize relations with Georgia; however from the economic point of view, it should be said directly, Georgia is interested in it more than Russia is. We believe that the relations between the two very close peoples should be normalized; we should definitely strive for it,” he added.
Asked during the same press conference whether his meeting with Georgia’s new PM Bidzina Ivanishvili was planned, Putin responded: “We have not received any official request about it.”
“In general I do not rule out it,” he said.
“I do not know him [Ivanishvili] personally. I think he even had certain business in Russia,” Putin continued. “This kind of meetings should be well-prepared and should end with something positive. But I do not understand what can be subject of our discussions. But we are not closed for this.”
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