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Restoring Georgia-Russia relations still on agenda

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, October 11
Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs sent a message to the future government of Georgia and saying that the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is absolutely nonnegotiable; the status of the de facto republics will be reviewed neither with Georgia, nor with any other state.

Lavrov and David Sanakoev, de-facto foreign minister of South-Ossetia met in Moscow, on October 8th. After the meeting, a pressconference was held where both spoke about the future relations with Georgia. Lavrov also made several comments on transitions in the Georgian government, assessing the elections of October the 1st as an expression of Georgians who wanted to see some changes.

Lavrov hopes that the future government of Georgia will try to stabilize relations with all neighbors, including Russia, Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. The fate of the Abkhazian and Ossetian people has been defined already and Moscow remains firm about it. Lavrov finds independence to be the only solution for the physical survival of these people. “They have decided their fate by choosing independence and Russia has defined its position by recognizing it,” Lavrov says. He also calls on Georgia to sign the agreement on not using of force and to exclude the future possibility of “committing crimes” by the Georgian party. Russia will also reiterate their request during the 21st round of the Geneva talks, which is planned to start on October 10th.

David Sanakoev also expressed his willingness to establish normal relations with Georgia, but first of all he wants official Tbilisi to recognize the independence of South Ossetia. “It totally depends on how the new government (of Georgia) will lead their policy; we will try to achieve recognition from Georgia and after, it will be possible to establish normal relations with this country,” Sanakoev said.

Lavrov also briefly spoke about the main issues discussed with Sanakoev, such as long-term relations and social-economic projects the Russian Federation is going to launch in South-Ossetia, which also includes large investment plans.

Alleged members of the upcoming government do agree with the necessity of starting talks with Russia and the breakaway republics, but they do not find the future negotiations to be easily possible. Maia Panjikidze, the nominee for ministry of foreign affairs, commented in her TV interview that improving relations with the Russian Federation will be a tough process, considering that 20% of Georgian territory still remains occupied.

Paata Zakareishvili, who has been nominated for the post of State Minister for Reintegration, told REGNUM that the new government will definitely reconsider current state policy according to the de-facto republics. The issue of independence will never be considered. However, Zakareishvili thinks that there are many other aspects to be considered, such as economic relations, humanitarian projects, as well as education and healthcare. “In order to make changes, first of all we have to change ourselves. We need to think a lot and understand those reasons which have brought us to the catastrophe in relations with the Abkhazian and Ossetian people,” he said. Zakareishvili refrained from being more precise about the future actions carried out by the coalition, as he explained more consultations need to be held.