Russia wants to see Georgia as “a sovereign, neutral and friendly country”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 30.
“If official Tbilisi undertakes steps towards real normalization of Russo-Georgian relations, our constructive response will not be delayed,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It said that the Russian deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, had laid out this Russian position during talks with his visiting Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Manjgaladze, and the state minister for conflict resolution issues, Davit Bakradze, in Moscow on August 30.
Russia’s calls for Georgian neutrality collide with Tbilisi’s NATO ambitions. The Georgian authorities have repeatedly said that the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration is the top foreign policy priority and it can not be traded off.
“During the consultations, the Russian side mentioned that it was ready to continue working towards the restoration of normal ties with Georgia, including the lifting of remaining restrictions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, referring to Russia’s economic embargo on Georgia.
It, however, added that the “provocative” August 6 missile incident followed by Tbilisi’s “vocal accusations” of Russian aggression “deflects from the positive trend in dialogue with Georgia.”