Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on December 9 there would be “contacts” with Georgian PM’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia “in the nearest future” in an attempt to, as he put it, clarify context in which Tbilisi tries to normalize ties with Moscow.
“Hand of [cooperation] in terms of economy and in those issues, which represent practical interest for Georgia, has been extended in parallel to maintaining such a tough line and unwillingness to see new realities; we want to clarify context of interest of our Georgian neighbors,” Itar-Tass news agency reported, quoting Lavrov.
“We will respond to a proposal of Zurab Abashidze, which he has sent to us in a capacity of special representative of the Georgian Prime Minister. We will have contacts with him in the nearest future,” Lavrov said and expressed hope that “something will be clarified at that meeting.”
“We are ready for reasonable steps, those that derive from the interest of citizens’ life,” Lavrov said and repeated that Moscow wanted to know “context” in which Tbilisi was willing to normalize its relations with Moscow, especially against the background of Georgia’s “reiteration of its course of NATO membership.”
- Lavrov on Ties with Georgia
- PM Ivanishvili Comments on Russia
- Moscow Expects 'Concrete Practical Steps' from Tbilisi
- PM Appoints Special Envoy for Relations with Russia
On November 1, one week after taking PM's office, Bidzina Ivanishvili appointed Zurab Abashidze, who was Georgia's ambassador in Moscow in 2000-2004, as his special representative for relations with Russia.
“They [the Russian authorities] have their red lines which they do not intend to cross and they have said that they would not retract recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We also have our red lines," said Abashidze on November 1, adding that those 'red lines' where Georgia's territorial integrity and its freedom to choose alliances in terms of Euro-Atlantic integration.
"But before approaching these red lines, our position is that there are other problems where we may find common ground – these are trade, cultural and humanitarian issues,” Georgian PM's special representative said.