- Vashadze: ‘Talks with Russia inevitable; but difficult to say when’
Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, met with counterparts from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Hungary, as well as Romanian, Latvian, Polish, Danish, Swedish and Finnish diplomats on sideline of EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on October 25.
These EU-member countries represent a grouping known as New Group of Friends of Georgia and the meeting took place just before the EU foreign ministers’ meeting, agenda of which, among other issues, also includes situation in Georgia.
According to a press release issued by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s office, she was due to brief ministers about her recent visit to Georgia in mid-July, when Georgia and EU launched Association Agreement talks.
“Ministers will look at the situation in Georgia and its relations with its neighbors as well as with the EU,” according to the press release.
In an interview with the Russian newspaper, Vremya Novostei, published on October 25, the Georgian Foreign Minister reiterated that Tbilisi was ready to talks with Moscow “without pre-conditions at any time and any place.”
He, however, said it would be “an illusion” to think that Georgia would talk with Russia on resumption of export of Georgian products on the Russian market.
“Talks will be about withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, restoration of territorial integrity of our country, as well as about voluntary return of refugees [to Abkhazia and South Ossetia] in safety and dignity. These are the foundations on which our relations with Russia can be normalized. We, of course, understand that Russia’s interests should also be taken into consideration in these talks,” Vashadze said.
“Talks with Russia are inevitable; they will definitely be held, but it’s difficult to say when,” he added.
On Russia’s WTO entry terms, Vashadze said Tbilisi was not thinking much on the issue. “Let Moscow itself think about it. WTO has clear-cut rules and procedures, which Russia is violating by its actions on border with Georgia,” he said.