Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said on July 22 that there are positive trends in bilateral ties between Moscow and Tbilisi and “more common sense is now felt” in these relations.
Asked about possibility of restoring diplomatic relations with Georgia, Lavrov told the participants of an annual youth forum on the Klyazma River in Russia’s Vladimir Region that it’s up to Tbilisi to make the first move in this direction as it was Georgia, which cut diplomatic ties after the August, 2008 war.
Tbilisi says it is impossible to restore diplomatic relations as long as Moscow recognizes Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “independent” states.
“I am convinced that we will solve all the problems. Already now more common sense is felt in our relations,” Lavrov said, noting that there is a channel of communication between the two countries through his deputy Grigory Karasin and Georgian PM’s special representative Zurab Abashidze, who have regular meetings.
He also said that trade has been restored and Georgian products, including wines and mineral waters were allowed into the Russian market.
“I think that this trend is the right one,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov also noted with regret that he cannot visit Georgia because of his official capacity of foreign minister. “But I have lots of friends who often visit Georgia and love this country – we probably all love this country,” he said.
He mentioned Georgia when responding a separate question, when he was speaking about NATO. Lavrov said that NATO’s declaration at the Bucharest summit in April, 2008 that Georgia will become the member of the Alliance, “instigated” then president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to launch military campaign against breakaway South Ossetia in August, 2008. Lavrov also said that the West wants to “involve more and more countries in NATO and to tear them away from Russia.”