Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, said that there is no pause in the “process of normalization” of relations in areas “where it is possible” between Moscow and Tbilisi and added that now it’s time to consider how to proceed further.
Karasin and Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, have been meeting regularly since December, 2012 to mainly discuss trade and economic relations between the two countries, which have no diplomatic ties since August, 2008 war.
Their recent meeting in Prague in October was dominated by discussions on new treaty between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, which at the time was not yet signed. Tbilisi condemned signing of this treaty on November 24 as a “step towards de facto annexation” of Abkhazia. No date for next meeting between Karasin and Abashidze was set since their last meeting in October.
“There are times when one has to think about how to proceed further,” Russian news agencies reported quoting Karasin on December 1. “I don’t like a term ‘pause’. Normalization will continue in those areas where it is possible.”
“With Georgian representatives, we are thinking about how to build our further work. There probably won’t be a meeting before the New Year. I think that in the beginning of next year we will think about the date of next meeting,” Karasin said.
Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, told journalists in Tbilisi on December 2: “We are keeping this format and this channel of communication.”
“We can get in touch with each other if needed, but we have yet to agree on the date of next meeting,” he added.
On November 28 the Georgian Dream ruling majority voted down a draft of parliament resolution, proposed by opposition UNM party, which was calling for scrapping Abashidze-Karasin format of talks. In a statement the GD parliamentary majority group has instead called on the government “to summarize results of dialogue launched with Russia in frames of bilateral format and to determine efficiency of this format for the future.”