Zurab Abashidze, Georgian Prime Minister’s special representative for Russia, met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin in Prague on November 16, as part of the informal direct bilateral dialogue launched between the two countries in late 2012.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement, issued after the meeting, spoke of a progress between the two countries in the spheres of trade, transportation and humanitarian contacts.
At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry kept up with its tradition of criticizing Georgia’s relations with NATO. “We emphasized again that widening of Tbilisi’s ties with NATO, as well as the unfriendly rhetoric of Georgian official representatives at international forums are in contrast with the tendency of strengthening the trade, transportation and humanitarian ties, and can undercut this mutually beneficial process,” reads the statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said the two sides have agreed to hold a meeting in the near future between the Georgian and Russian experts, with the Swiss side participating, for “concluding the preparatory works and the subsequent signing of contracts” for the implementation of the Swiss-mediated 2011 deal, which paved way for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization in exchange for a trade monitoring mechanism for goods passing between two countries through the two occupied regions.
Zurab Abashidze commented after the meeting that although the issues were not on the talks’ agenda, “we always emphasize the situation in the occupied territories, militarization of these regions, gross violations of human rights there, as well as gross violation of international law, Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” adding that he underscored the country’s “attitude towards the destructive processes that are ongoing in these regions.”