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Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia says Geneva Talks are safe

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, February 26
Georgia’s Special Envoy Zurab Abashidze’s statements have once again triggered turmoil in the country. In his interview with Russia’s Ria Novosti, Abashidze shared Vladimir Putin’s vision regarding the launch of direct dialogue with the de-facto regions of Georgia, through the support of Russia.

Georgia’s pro-Western parties accuse the current authorities of betraying Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, while pro-Russian Nino Burjanadze applauded the assertion.

“If Russia really will facilitate direct dialogue between us and the Abkhazians and the Ossetians, we are ready to put aside the red lines and start discussing the problems affecting people,” Abashidze said.

When it comes to Georgia’s NATO aspirations, Abashidze said that Moscow should not be concerned over Georgia’s cooperation with NATO, as Georgia’s NATO accession is not on the agenda in a near-term perspective.

Burjanadze swiftly supported the initiative, stating it was the right message.

“I have said many times and I repeat once again that, first of all, we need to talk through direct dialogue with the Abkhazians and Ossetians, but, unfortunately, it is impossible to make any progress without holding negotiations with the Russians and without their positive contribution to this process,” Burjanadze said.

Deputy State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality of Georgia Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, claims that Georgia has always spoken on the necessity of direct dialogue with the de-facto regions.

“Thus, there was nothing alarming in the statements. Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic course is irreversible,” she said, noting that the statement will not put the international negotiation format known as the Geneva Talks with Russia and the de-facto leaderships at risk.

The opposition United National Movement claims that Abashidze’s statements seriously damages the Georgian interests and reveal the Georgian Dream authorities as pro-Russian.

Member of the Free Democrats, former deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaniani stresses that Abashidze’s statements do affect the Geneva Talks format.

Commenting on the issue Abashidze said that the Geneva Format was safe and Georgia should choose neutral issues for launching dialogue with Abkhazians and S. Ossetia.