TBILISI, October 26. /TASS/. Georgia "supports normalization of relations with Russia," Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili said on Monday at the International Conference on Security and Cooperation in the South Caucasus.
"Despite Russia’s unacceptable actions toward Georgia, we support normalization of relations with Russia and pragmatic approach in this important issue," Garibashvili said. "The Georgian government made concrete steps over the last years toward restoring and developing cooperation with Russia in the spheres of trade, transport, tourism, culture, communications and all other possible spheres," he added.
Garibashvili noted that "there is no alternative to dialogue in normalizing relations with Russia." Meanwhile, Nino Burdzhanadze, a former speaker of the Georgian parliament, suggested that Tbilisi "should make more active steps on normalizing relations with Russia and start preparations for Russian-Georgian meetings at the highest level."
Meetings between Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin are the first direct dialogue between officials of Russia and Georgia since 2008. Discussions in this format are held every four months starting from December 2012. The first meeting between the official representatives since hostilities over the bordering South Ossetia region flared in 2008 opened near Geneva on December 14, 2012. The next seven meetings were held in Prague in 2013 and 2014 to discuss economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation of the two countries.