Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, welcomed Georgian president-elect Giorgi Margvelashvili’s remarks on ties with Moscow as “constructive.”
“We follow with interests first remarks by new president of Georgia. His views on normalization of the Georgian-Russian relations are constructive and they largely echo our vision,” Karasin said in an interview with the Russian news agency Itar-Tass.
In an interview, broadcast by Russia’s state Channel 1 on November 10, Margvelashvili said the two countries should start mending ties from discussing issues on which agreement is possible with the view to then move towards having “good neighborly relations” in the long run. He said that the August 2008 “discredited” outgoing president Saakashvili, who, as he put it, “created problems”, but Saakashvili’s factor, Margvelashvili added, was not relevant any more as it was already past. Margvelashvili also said that Russia will benefit from stable Georgia and its European integration.
Margvelashvili was strongly criticized by the UNM parliamentary minority group for not mentioning in the interview Russia’s occupation of the Georgian territories and the issue of return of internally displaced persons.
Karasin is Russia’s chief negotiator on Georgia; he is involved in the Geneva discussions, launched after the August 2008 war, and since December 2012 he is also negotiating on trade, economy and humanitarian issues with Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze. The two diplomats will meet for the fifth time since December in Prague on November 21.
“Moscow is ready to continue informal dialogue with Georgian PM’s special representative Zurab Abashidze, which was launched a year ago upon instructions of leaders of our countries. Tangible results have been reached over this time in the areas where it is real in the existing conditions,” Karasin said.
“We remain realists, not setting goals too high, but we are determined to continue work that is beneficial for the people of both countries in the constructive spirit,” he added.
He also said that the Russian delegation will not be attending inauguration of the Georgian president-elect on November 17 in Tbilisi; Karasin said it’s impossible in the condition of absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said no invitation was sent to Russia, also citing absence of diplomatic relations, which were cut after the August 2008 war.