President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s remarks about readiness for a meeting will be “thoroughly” considered by Tbilisi, including with its Western partners.
Asked on February 10 in Sochi if he would meet the Georgian President, Vladimir Putin responded: “Yes, if he wants; why not.”
“We will make a very serious and thorough analysis of these remarks; we will hold consultations and elaborate our position,” President Margvelashvili told journalists in Tbilisi.
“If there is a possibility for this kind of meeting to give positive impulse to Georgian-Russian relations, if there is a serious readiness to discuss very problematic issues, then naturally there is a reason to discuss it, hold consultations within the country, as well as with our Western colleagues and to think about such meeting,”
Margvelashvili said that ongoing bilateral dialogue between Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, on trade, economic and people-to-people contacts serves for defusing tensions and for laying ground for “rational discussion” of issues related to “occupation” of Georgia’s territories by Russia.
“Occupation of Georgian territories will bring nothing positive to Russia; none of the side can benefit from it. Our compatriots, living beyond these barbed wires [referring to residents of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia], are not benefiting either from this [situation],” Margvelashvili said.
Last time when presidents of the two countries met was in early July, 2008 – a month before the war broke out between Georgia and Russia. Then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met briefly on July 5, 2008 in Kazakh capital Astana.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, also said on February 10 that he’s “very glad” that Georgian athletes are participating in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, which, he said, helps to build ties with Tbilisi.
“I think that it’s a very good sign and that’s exactly the case when the Olympic Games contribute to building relations even where it seemed impossible or very difficult,” he told journalists while touring Olympic Games media center in Sochi.
He said that direct flights between Tbilisi and Sochi started just ahead of the Olympics. “We have decided to keep this practice after the Olympics as well,” Putin said. “That’s already a plus of the Olympic Games.”
“The Olympic Games help to build ties with Georgia and I am very glad about it and we wish success to the Georgian athletes,” Putin said.
His remarks were made in response to a question from a Georgian journalist, who asked about “clouded” parts of Abkhazia on Georgian map during the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Games. The satellite zoom in on Georgia’s map, projected on arena floor while Georgian athletes were parading, showed parts of Abkhazia covered by what appeared to be clouds; some in Georgia complained it was done deliberately to portray Georgian map without its breakaway region.
“That’s nonsense,” Putin responded. “There is no need of stirring up something out of nothing.”