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TBILISI, November 1 (Itar-Tass) — The restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia is pegged tightly to the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders,” Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili told the media on Thursday.
Earlier, he signed a decree to appoint his special envoy for relations with Russia. The man is experienced diplomat Zurab Abashidze. He will be directly subordinate to the prime minster.
“As far as the restoration of Georgian-Russian diplomatic relations is concerned, it cannot happen soon, even if both countries display the will for that, because it will be a time-consuming and intricate process,” Ivanishvili said.
He pointed out that the restoration of relations with Russia was pegged tightly to the territorial integrity of Georgia within the internationally recognized borders.
In that connection he said that Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics was the main reason why relations between Georgia and Russia cannot be restored at “a time when there are embassies of Russia in both Tskhinvali and Sukhumi.”
“After the restoration of trading and cultural relations between the two countries a great deal is to be done for the sake of creating conditions for diplomatic relations and in the longer term for converting those relations into a friendly state in view of the long history Georgia and Russia share,” Ivanishvili said.