Russian PM Vladimir Putin’s remarks in which he said that for some Abkhazia and South Ossetia were “occupied” territories and for others - “liberated”, are “cynical”, Giga Bokeria, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on July 6.
Putin made the remarks when he was asked to comment on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Georgia, who spoke out against Russia’s “continued occupation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“It’s a usual cynicism expressed by political establishment of our neighbor and in this case by PM Putin,” Bokeria said.
Putin also said on July 5 that Tbilisi should negotiate directly with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, instead of "seeking solution on the side" from the third parties.
“This kind of cynical remarks that Russia has nothing to do with it and that other players should resolve the situation between each other is simply a cheap attempt to avoid responsibility,” Bokeria said.
“The Georgian government and large part of the Georgian society is willing and is ready to cooperate with Russia, but the cooperation means mutual respect. As soon as Russia lives up to Georgia’s free choice and Georgia’s sovereignty, it will become very easy to establish civilized relations with Russia.”
He stressed the importance of the U.S. Secretary of State’s visit to Georgia and her statements made during the visit and said that it showed the U.S. long-term commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We should not have an illusion that it will bring immediate results; there is no reason to expect any fundamental change in Russia’s stance towards its neighbors and towards the European security. But in the process, which should lead us step-by-step to this result, engagement of the United States is very important,” Bokeria said.