Moscow is ready for dialogue and cooperation with Tbilisi, but it’s up to the Georgian leadership to take first steps in this direction, Russia’s Security Council secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, said.
“Now there is a difficult political situation in Georgia. The United States and NATO exert lots of influence,” Patrushev said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, published on December 18.
“Differences between Prime Minister Ivanishvili and President Saakashvili are visible. They should solve their internal problems and define what role is assigned to each of them. One of them speaks about being interested in restoring relations with Russia and another does not make remarks of this kind.”
“Their positions coincide on number of other issues; for example, both of them state that their goal is Georgia’s membership in NATO and EU,” he said.
“People of our two countries are historically close to each other and they lived in a common state for a long time and they cooperated actively. The Georgian leadership launched war against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where many Russian citizens live, and that caused many differences between our states,” Patrushev said.
“We are ready for a dialogue and for cooperation, but we should be oriented towards not only on statements, but on Georgian leadership’s actual steps and they [the Georgian leadership] should be the first to take these steps. Unfortunately they do not yet speak that they will not use force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia – the two independent states, which have been recognized by Russia,” he said.
President Saakashvili made unilateral declaration of non-use of force in November, 2010.
Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, met Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin in Switzerland last week for the first direct talks between the two countries since the August, 2008 war. The two diplomats said that format of further direct talks on trade, economic and humanitarian issues was discussed during the first meeting.
PM Ivanishvili said on December 18 the fact in itself that first such meeting between his and Russian President’s representatives took place was very important.