Work to normalise Georgia-Russia relations continues, say officials

Karasin: there is no pause in normalization of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi. Photo by TASS, 02 Dec 2014 - 12:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Russian high official believes the process to normalise relations between Georgia and Russia is continuing as normal, despite Georgia and much of the international community condemning Russia’s deal with Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region.

Although Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said there were times when it was necessary to temporarily pause to consider how to proceed, to understand "everything”.

"I do not like the word "pause",” he told Russian media outlet RIA Novosti.

"Normalisation will continue in the areas where it is possible. We, together with the Georgian representatives, are thinking about how to build work further.”

However the Russian official said there was no meeting planned between him and Georgia’s representative Zurab Abashidze before the start of 2015.

"I think that we can think about the date of the next meeting at the beginning of the New Year,” Karasin said.

In 2012, Georgia’s then-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili introduced the new post of Special Representative for Relations with Russia, and appointed Abashidze, Georgia’s former Ambassador to Moscow, to the role. Since then Abashidze has continued to negotiate on behalf of the country concerning Georgia-Russia issues directly with Karasin.

After Abashidze and Karasin could not agree on the so-called Russia-Abkhazia ‘Alliance and Strategic Partnership’ treaty at their Prague meeting on October 16, some Georgian officials said the Abashidze-Karasin format had exhausted itself and was no longer needed.

But Abashidze, who commented after Karasin released his statement, said the current format of negotiations should and would be continued. But he did not say when the next round of talks would take place.

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua responded to Karasin’s statement and said the so-called Russia-Abkhazia treaty impeded the process of normalising relations between Georgia and Russia but stated constructive relations needed to be preserved.

Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia signed the so called alliance deal on November 24. The action was assessed by Georgia and international community as "Russia’s step forward to annexation of the Georgian region”.