Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow was ready to foster people-to-people contacts between Georgia and Russia, but as far as state-to-state ties are concerned, he said, Moscow hoped that the Georgian people would elect new leaders, who would know how to build relations with neighbors.
“It was not us, who have cut diplomatic relations, even after President Saakashvili ordered to attack South Ossetia. After this attack was repelled and stopped, we were not offering to cut diplomatic relations – it was President Saakashvili, who did it,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state-run news channel Rossiya-24, aired on December 30.
“But we are pragmatics and we understand that the Georgian people are friendly people to us, that majority of the Georgian citizens has this stance and we are open for contacts, which will help people to feel some kind of relief, involving direct flights, opening of Verkhny Lars [border-crossing point] which was put into operation after the repair works; we were ready for that [reopening of border-crossing point] and it is good that the Georgian leadership did not politicized this issue; it also involves many other issues, first of all related to humanitarian relations,” he said.
“We want and we are ready to act in a way so that to remove barriers, which are impeding people-to-people contacts. There will be a result if there are these kinds of contacts.”
“As far as the current leadership of Georgia is concerned, assessment of the Russian Federation are well known: we hope that the day will come when the Georgian people elects leadership, which will take care of national interests of its state, instead of [taking care] of geopolitical games and a leader, who will take care of relations with neighbors, who will know how to build relations with the neighbors based on mutual respect and equality and who will know taking into consideration interests of all the peoples living in the region,” Lavrov said.