Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that newly signed treaty between Moscow and Sokhumi on “alliance and strategic partnership” has nothing to do with “annexation” and expressed hope that Tbilisi and Moscow will continue informal dialogue, led by him and Georgian PM’s special envoy Zurab Abashidze.
Tbilisi condemned the new treaty between Moscow and Sokhumi as a “step towards annexation” of its breakaway region by Russia.
“We are interested that our neighbors do not feel endangered. We have always been putting and will put a lot of effort, nerves and finances into this. We will help in terms of economy and finances where needed,” Karasin said in an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian-language program on November 25.
“It’s not about any annexation whatsoever. This is completely transparent document, which is about broadening of interaction in actually all the areas in order to reinforce the common security space,” Karasin said.
“This far-fetched thesis about having some kind of plans about annexation, absorption and expansion – that has to be referred to those people, who are behind the [EU] Eastern Partnership program,” the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said.
“It seems that Georgia feels uncomfortable, first and foremost, after those criminal actions, which were committed by Mikheil Saakashvili, when it lost one fifth of its territory [after the August, 2008 war],” he said.
“As far as relations between Russia and Georgia are concerned, we are now making practical steps in order to build interaction in those areas, where it is possible in the condition of absence of diplomatic relations. Such efforts are underway and it will continue,” he said referring to talks that are carried out mainly on trade and economic issues between him and Georgian PM special envoy for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, since December, 2012.
The most recent meeting between the two diplomats was held on October 16; the parliamentary opposition in Georgia is calling on the authorities to scrap this format of talks with Russia following signing of the new treaty between Moscow and Sokhumi. Although no date of next meeting between Karasin and Abashidze has yet been set, the Georgian officials are indicating that they are in favor to continue this dialogue.