Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “pragmatic” approach adhered by Georgian PM Ivanishvili’s government towards Georgian-Russian relations “appeals to us.”
In an interview with the Russian-language RTVi channel, Lavrov said that Moscow “respects the Georgian people’s choice” made in the October parliamentary elections. “We tried not to comment on developments on Georgia’s internal political scene,” he said.
“We are satisfied that [the Georgian] government wants to pragmatically resolve issues, existing in our relations: restoration of trade with agricultural products,” Lavrov said.
He, however, also said that fundamental difference between the two countries, including on Abkhazia and South Ossetia would remain.
“I do not think that a politician will emerge in Georgia in the foreseeable future, who would say: ‘let’s forget about Abkhazia and South Ossetia’. But we should also understand that no politician will either emerge in Russia, who would say: ‘we were wrong’,” he said.
Lavrov said that Moscow intervened militarily in August 2008 with the only intention to “stop the bloodshed”. He said that it was not an intention of Russia to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “No one even thought about it,” Lavrov said and added that Moscow only decided to recognize these two regions after the Georgian authorities continued their “revanchist signals”.
“We have always wanted friendship and cooperation with our Georgian neighbors and to help them in resolving problems and if not the adventure of August, 2008, I think we could have made a serious progress,” he said.
“Relations were permanently being escalated by Mr. Saakashvili. He made devastating input in hearts and minds of many young Georgians; he was carrying out in a consistent way policy of deleting the Russian language, Russian culture and memory of historic ties between our countries from the everyday life,” Lavrov said.
“As soon as he [Saakashvili] hears Ivanishvili or his ministers speaking something positive about relations with Russia, he made it a rule to immediately make a comment in opposite direction. I don’t think there is anybody in the world who still listens to him [Saakashvili],” the Russian Foreign Minister said.