Nino Burjanadze, leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia party and former parliament speaker met in St. Petersburg speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, on September 24.
Burjanadze is in St. Petersburg to participate in the inaugural Eurasian Women’s Forum held on September 24-25.
This is Burjanadze’s second visit to Russia in the past two months.
“You are well-known not only in Georgia, but in Russia too as a prominent political and public figure,” Matviyenko told Burjanadze. “We appreciate highly your consistent commitment towards the idea of good neighborly relations with Russia, which correspond national interests of both Russia and Georgia.”
“I am saying it sincerely that not because of our fault tensions have arisen in relations between Russia and Georgia and we were worried very much when it was happening. Saakashvili’s regime, full of Russophobia, was doing everything to destroy Russian-Georgian relations. We all know how it all ended,” she said.
“Russia has always been in favor of normalization of Russian-Georgian relations. We have accepted positively those positive signals, which came after change of government [in Georgia] in 2012,” Matviyenko said, noting bilateral direct dialogue between Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.
Matviyenko said that these direct talks helped to improve ties in the areas where it is possible to achieve progress in the condition of absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries, specifically in trade and people-to-people contacts.
“But we are still concerned about some impenetrable position the Georgian leadership has, which does not allow us to restore full-fledged diplomatic relations. Obviously we are concerned that Georgia is getting closer to NATO, which creates instability in the Trans-Caucasus and which does not contribute to peace and stability in the Transcaucasus,” Matviyenko said.
Burjanadze said: “Restoration of normal relations is important for both Russia and Georgia. From my recent contacts and visits to Moscow I have seen that there is a real vision among Russian leaders that these relations are important for the both countries and that there is a willingness of restoring normal relations.”