"I urge the leadership of the Russian Federation to take joint steps and resolve this complicated situation”, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said.
Fifteen days after the death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili in Georgia’s Russian occupied region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) in unclear circumstances, his body has still not been handed over to his family for burial, while Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili still remain in occupied Tskhinvali and unable to travel.
Although we have restored bilateral trade and economic relations, a chain of tragic events continues. This undermines the prospects of regulating Georgia-Russia relations", Kvirikashvili said in a statement released today.
This August marks the 10th anniversary since the war of 2008, which according to PM Kvirikashvili "has left a tremendous mark on the Georgian people’s minds and Georgia-Russia relations”.
Moscow’s recognition of independence of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region has brought to a dead end all prospects of normal relations between our states”, he said.
According to Kvirikashvili, the two sides can meet this anniversary with either accusations and harsh statements - of which there certainly has been no lack throughout the past years - or to take sensible steps, even small, to lead relations out of this vicious cycle.
We are also ready for a direct dialogue with the Abkhazians and the Ossetians, and a genuinely constructive approach from the Russian side would be welcome in this context. With political will in place, we believe it feasible to take other sensible steps as well", PM Kvirikashvili said.
He further reaffirmed his commitment to personal involvement in the Geneva International Discussions to reach tangible progress, which since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 has been the only format of dialogue between Georgia and Russia.
People gathered at the Freedom Square in the centre of Tbilisi on Sunday to condemn death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili. Photo by Mzia Saganelidze/RFERL
Russia recognised Abkhazia and the other Georgian breakaway region of Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) as independent countries after a military armed conflict with Georgia in 2008.
As of today, only four countries recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent republics; these are Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.