Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow was ready to resume direct flights with Georgia, as well as relations in other sectors of economy “which were artificially aborted”, if the Georgian side showed interest in it.
“The ball is in Georgia’s court,” he said in an interview with Russian-language Mir TV on July 7.
Russia allowed the Georgian Airways to conduct direct Tbilisi-Moscow charter flights this summer, but both Tbilisi and Moscow say talks between the authorities of the two countries are needed in order to negotiate on resumption of regular flights. The Russian Transport Ministry said in March it was up to Tbilisi to come out with the initiative to start talks. But the Georgian Foreign Ministry responded that it was Russia, which suspended the regular direct flights and Tbilisi was ready to consider a proposal on resumption in case Russia’s made such offer first.
In the same interview, asked how long diplomatic relations can remain cut between Russia and Georgia, Lavrov responded, that it was not Russia which suspended these relations following the August war.
“We had no intention to cut diplomatic relations, as we understood very well that Saakashvili’s regime does not represent the Georgian people; it [the Georgian leadership] is anomaly, which does not originate from within the Georgian society, but was brought in from outside,” Lavrov said.
“Instead of sending envoys throughout the world and slandering Russia and raising at the international organizations the issue about the need of ‘de-occupation’ of Georgia, the Georgian authorities should better take care of relations with the peoples living in this region: Ossetians, Abkhazians, as well as with those ethnicities, which live on the Georgian territory, including Armenians and Azerbaijanis and other minorities,” Lavrov said.