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Russia's stubborn policy impedes diplomatic progress

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 11
It appears as though Russia does not want to change its position. As such, bilateral negotiations between the two countries have unfortunately reached a deadlock. The Kremlin insists on repeating its old demand– that Georgia should abolish its Law on Occupied Territories and restore diplomatic relations with Russia. Meanwhile, Moscow does not intend to reverse its decision on its recognition of the separatist regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, leaving Georgia to cope with the loss of its territories that have been occupied by Russia since the August 2008 War.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, said after his recent meeting with Georgia’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, in Prague, that Georgia's Law on Occupied Territories creates problems for Russian tourists and therefore, it should be abolished.

Russia's demand is not all that much of a surprise. Moscow has been demanding this since the law went into force. Moscow is upset with Georgian legislation and wants this law stricken from the books. As for the restoration of diplomatic relations, if it takes place, it would require that Georgia recognize Russia's aggressive actions and subsequent occupation of sovereign Georgian territory.

Moscow’s obstinate position puts Georgian-Russian relations into a deep freeze, as there is no chance that Georgia's leadership will agree to recognize Georgian land that is administered by a Russian-supported de facto government.

The Georgian government is determined to maintain its position on this matter. In fact, Georgian officials say that it was Russia that created the problem by holding Georgian territories after invading in August 2008.

That being said, the Law on Occupied Territories would automatically lose its significance as soon as Russia denounces its recognition of the two breakaway territories as independent states. It is clear for everybody that it is Russia that violated the norms of international law.

As for the law itself, the Georgian Dream coalition plans to introduce slight amendments concerning the rules of crossing the Georgian border from Russian territory.

In the end, with its stubborn position, Russian officials limit the prospects of any positive dynamics being fostered in Georgian-Russian relations.