Bidzina Ivanishvili: ‘Abkhazia and Ossetia should be returned.’

This is the first interview with Bidzina Ivanishvili since his resignation. Photo by Forbes, 24 Dec 2013 - 00:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

We want to make Georgia a rather European country and it would be stimulating for our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers to live with us. said Bidzina Ivanishvili in his interview with international business magazine Forbes Russian Edition.

This is the first interview with the former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili since his resignation.

"I say each time that Abkhazia and Ossetia should be returned. And when I say it, I dont mean the war or violence. This is not only territory: our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers are living there. We want them to return with negotiations. The president of Russia publicly declared that Russia won't interfere and the people have to decide for themselves. This statement seemed encouraging to me. said Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The former Prime Minister also discussed the diplomatic relations restoration issue with the Northern neighbor and also the export of Georgian wine and mineral water in Russia. According to Ivanishvili, despite everything (that has happened), the Georgian government shouldnt reconcile with Russia only for "Borjomi" and Georgian wine.

"After all, we have changed our rhetoric. We will improve trade relations with Russia. Certainly, export of wine and mineral water won't repair the economy of Georgia, but anyway, it is useful. For a beginning, thats good, but it isn't enough. mentioned Ivanishvili.

On the question, does he regret that he wasnt able to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ivanishvili answered that he was ready for this meeting, however he had no chance.

Bidzina Ivanishvili also discussed the Georgian sportsmens participation in the Sochi Olympics Games. It was one of the most contentious topics in Georgia during the current year.

"In Ancient Greece, wars stopped during the Olympic Games. I think that the Georgian sportsmen should participate in this event. I think that it is good for reconciliation. As for me, Im not planning to attend the Olympic Games. This is very sensitive subject for Georgians. They are in confused and my attendance might be misunderstood by both, Georgians and Russians. said Bidzina Ivanishvili.