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Russian media: Abashidze-Karasin meeting is scheduled for February

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, February 18
Russia’s Foreign Ministry reports that a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and the Georgian PM’s special representative Zurab Abashidze will be held at the end of February.

According to the ministry, a phone conversation has been held between Karasin and Abashidze and the parties focused on Georgia-Russia relations and the date of their next meeting.

The first meeting between the parties was held in December 2012. They have held seven discussions in Prague since then. The discussions represent the only means of dialogue between Georgia and Russia.

Meanwhile, the Russian media also reports that the country is not changing its policy to Georgia’s de-facto regions.

Russia will not reduce financial aid to Abkhazia despite an economic crisis, Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov told the media in Sukhumi after talks with de-facto Abkhaz President Raul Khadzhimba.

"The situation is not easy in Russia today. We all know that. Budget spending is being slashed. But the Russian president has made the decision not to cut spending on aid for Abkhazia," Surkov said.

"Initially, just over 4 billion rubles was to be provided to finance Abkhaz development programs in 2015. But after a new treaty on allied relations and strategic partnership was signed, this sum was increased by 5 billion rubles,” he said. Surkov stressed that the borders between Russia and Abkhazia should be cancelled as it is provided in the new treaty.

It should be stated that since signing the treaty on Alliance and Partnership between Russia and de-facto Abkhazia and informing that Russia would sign the same type of an agreement with the de-facto region South Ossetia in the month, the meetings were put in question.

Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili had stated that the meetings might be suspended, while Abashidze denied this information.

The opposition United National Movement keeps demanding the suspension of the format as a sign of protest to the anti-Georgian activities in the de-facto territories.

The Georgian Dream coalition members believe that the format should be retained and the dialogue should continue with Russia.

Analyst Mamuka Areshidze shares the vision and states that it is better to have a link of communication with Russia.

“Despite the fact there are no serious moves in the key-issues of the two countries’ relations, some positive moves have been detected concerning trade and economic relations. It’s better to have a channel of communication with a rival rather to close all doors,” he said.