Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said on January 25, that he wanted “phase of alienation” with the Georgian people to be over as soon as possible, but also reiterated that he would not even shake hands with President Saakashvili.
“We are absolutely ready to restore diplomatic relations with Georgia,” Medvedev said during a meeting with students in Moscow. “It was not us who cut [diplomatic ties].”
“There is only one person whom I would not like to deal with; you know whom I am talking about. I won’t be either meeting him or shaking hands with him,” Itar-Tass reported quoting Medvedev, referring to President Saakashvili, whom the Russian President described in 2008 after the August war as “a political corpse”.
“As far as other political figures are concerned, as far as the Georgian people is concerned, I would like this phase of alienation to be over as soon as possible,” Medvedev said.
He said some steps had already been undertaken in this regard by restoring flights between the two countries and also added that Russia’s WTO accession would boost trade turnover.
“People-to-people contacts should become easier, but the Georgian authorities should also undertake reciprocal steps,” he said.
Meanwhile, speaking in Strasbourg to the members of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said on January 25, that Russia would not speak even with Georgia's new government, because recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Moscow created “legal limbo” and now Russian authorities “simply do not know what to talk about.”
Most of the questions asked after his address to the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe were about Georgia’s relations with its breakaway regions and Russia. Responding to one of such questions, Vashadze said: “The Russian Federation explicitly refuses to recognize democratically elected government of Georgia. The Russian Federation is saying, that they are not going to talk to this government, which has been elected by Georgian people.”
“And trust me, I guarantee you that when we have next government after 2012 and 2013 [parliamentary and presidential elections], Russians will refuse to talk to that government too and you know why, because they simply do not know what to talk about,” Vashadze said.
“August 26 of 2008 decision of Russia to recognize so called independence [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia] put the Russian Federation, Georgia and the population of the occupied territories into absolutely catastrophic legal limbo and our Russian partners do not want to meet demands of the international community and they simply do not know other way around. So, that’s where we are,” the Georgian Foreign Minister added.