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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Friday, February 8
Ex-foreign minister welcomes restoring dialogue with Russia

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze welcomed the efforts of the new Georgian government to restore dialogue with Russia; however, he believes that the format of the negotiations should be different. Grigol Vashadze reviewed Georgia’s foreign policy priorities since the change of government in an interview with Maestro TV on Wednesday. The former minister said he has not yet seen any steps made by the current government that would prove Georgian Dream is pro-Russian or any evidence that the Georgian Dream government intends to change Georgia's foreign policy away from NATO, the European Union and other traditional allies.

Vashadze welcomes the efforts to restore dialogue with Russia, but he said the format should be a bit different. “As Switzerland mediates in the absence of diplomatic ties between the two countries, in many respects restoration of dialogue might be described as a de facto restoration of diplomatic relations.” Vashadze said.

However, he added that restoring dialogue with Russia should not occur without serious preparation. “As for creating the post of special representative for relations with Russia, the attempt to restore dialogue is good, but we have to think about a better format." Vashadze.

“This format may weaken the Geneva format, weaken the non-recognition policy. Direct dialogue isn't bad, but we’re still speaking about the Russia that killed 15,000 people in the Abkhazian war. We should be cautious about this issue. If we have learned anything in regards to Russia it should be that relations with it should be carried out with strictly determined rules and mediation." Vashadze said.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs says that he was expressing his own opinion and does not represent any political party. “I have never been a member of the United National Movement (UNM), by the way. I was going to join them at one time but we had too many differences of opinion." he said.

President’s proposal would amnesty economic crimes

Liberali reports that President Mikheil Saakashvili’s initiative to pardon financial offenses has been submitted to Parliament. The proposed law would suspend current criminal or administrative persecution for tax evasion and forgive tax debt. The proposed law would also ensure confidentiality of tax declarations.