Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary chairman, said "normalization" of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi should start from "joint efforts on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian directions."
"We are ready to resolve issues with Russia through dialogue. But it won't be negotiations from a blank page," he said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Vremya Novostei, published on August 23.
"It's hard to talk with an interlocutor, who has embassies in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali - on our territories; who deploys troops without our consent, controlling the fifth of Georgia. We can start talks with discussing withdrawal of these military forces with a prospect to resolve the conflict. It is impossible to by-pass these issues."
"It is impossible to normalize relations without joint efforts on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian directions. When we speak about political normalization or about withdrawal of the Russian forces, we do not mean forcing Russia out [of the region]. It should be a dignified process with taking into consideration mutual interests. This kind of compromise is absolutely possible in case of elementary good will from the Russian side. Then it will be possible to discuss opening of borders, restoration of air link - everything that can benefit ordinary citizens; but these are not major issues in our relations," Bakradze said.
He said "emotions" were behind Russia's statements that its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was irreversible.
"Moscow sees that these recognitions have brought to nowhere, but it is hard to acknowledge it. Several years should be passed in order these emotions to fade away," Bakradze said, adding that Russia would benefit much more from having relations with Georgia based on equal rights.
"For example, we have common interest in stability in the North Caucasus," he said. "It is not in Georgia's interests to destabilize situation in the North Caucasus. That's were we have common interests with Moscow. Let's cooperate, but only on the basis of equality and partnership,"