Georgia’s Foreign Minister: We Continue a Pragmatic Policy towards Russia

Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, stated on Wednesday that the government continues a constructive and pragmatic policy towards its neighbor Russia.

He said that a direct dialogue between the two countries would continue in the format of talks between the Georgian Prime Minister's Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

He said that through the Abashidze-Karasin format, the two countries had managed to make certain progress in terms of transport, trade, economy and culture.

"This contributes to the peaceful development of the process. Our goal is to provide peace and development on the territories controlled by the Georgian side,” Janelidze said, adding that the priorities of the Georgian government are European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The first meeting between Abashidze and Karasin took place in Geneva on December 14, 2012 and since then the meetings have been held regularly, with the last taking place in October, 2016.

Janelidze confirmed that the Georgian side will continue to take part in the Geneva International Talks. However, he noted that due to Russia’s destructive actions, agreement has yet to be reached.

“We raise the issues of Georgia in the frames of various international organizations. The conflict between Georgia and Russia, and its results, are reflected in the documents adopted by international organizations,” the Minister stressed.

Furthermore, Raul Khajimba, the de-facto President of Georgia’s occupied region Abkhazia, stated at a press-conference that the Geneva International Talks bring no positive results to Abkhazia.

“The Geneva discussions do not give anything positive to Abkhazia. However, I believe they are still necessary to allow us to express our position to the international community,” Khajimba said.

The International Talks of Geneva were established following the 2008 August War between Georgia and Russia. The Talks are usually co-chaired by representatives from the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as delegates from Georgia, Russia and the United States (US), and authorities from de facto Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.

Since the August War, the Russian Federation has been in occupation of around 20 percent of Georgian territories, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Thea Morrison

29 December 2016 19:21