The EU said after its cooperation council meeting with Georgia in Brussels on December 18 that it “welcomed the first direct talks between Georgia and the Russian Federation” since the August 2008 war.
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and Foreign Minister of Cyprus Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country holds EU’s rotating presidency, chaired the cooperation council meeting with Georgia in which Georgia was represented by Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili.
Commissioner Füle said at a news conference that the issue of Georgian and Russian relation was discussed during the cooperation council meeting.
“What the Georgian delegation heard from us was actually the encouragement for these discussions,” Füle said, adding that improvement of Georgian-Russian relations was also in EU’s interest.
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.
PM Ivanishvili also expressed hope that he would meet Russian leadership sometime in the future; he, however, also stressed that no such possible meeting was neither discussed nor was on the agenda yet.
After the EU-Georgia cooperation council meeting the EU also welcomed “the fact that Georgia has signaled its intention to adopt a flexible approach towards engagement with the breakaway regions” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“The EU reconfirmed its support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and its commitment to conflict resolution efforts in Georgia, including through its co-chairmanship of the Geneva International Talks, and through the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia,” the EU said.