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Georgia’s PM Ivanishvili urges gradual normalization of relations with Russia

April 23, 2013, 16:56 UTC+3
"My dream is to get good relations with our large neighbour, but this should be done gradually,” he told the PACE spring session
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STRASBOURG, April 23 (Itar-Tass) – Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has called for gradual normalization of relations with Russia.

“I have no illusions that we will manage to restore relations with Russia very fast. My dream is to get good relations with our large neighbour, but this should be done gradually,” he told the PACE spring session on Tuesday.

At the same time he called for pragmatic approach in the process of normalizing relations between Georgia and Russia.

“I can say with confidence that our position in relation to Russia will be correct, but principled,” Ivanishvili said.

He noted that it should not be expected that “Georgia will abandon its legal interests, especially interests concerning territorial integrity and the rights of citizens to return to their native lands.”

Ivanishvili also called on the European community to provide support in resolving these issues.

“Georgia needs international support. There should not be an impression that Georgia can resolve these problems on its own and that it does not need European partners’ support,” he said.

Ivanishvili said he saw no prospects for Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s access to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

“South Ossetia and Abkhazia are parts of Georgia and their representatives can be present here (in Strasbourg) within our delegation. I see no other prospects,” he said in reply to the Russian delegation’s question.

 

Territorial integrity

Georgia hopes to restore its territorial integrity without the use of force and plans to use diplomacy. “Peace and tolerance will be our main approach,” Bidzina Ivanishvili said. “We want Georgia to become a country attractive for residents of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Russia and Europe.”

“Our task is to make Georgia a very strong country from the point of view of democracy and economy,” he said.

Ivanishvili expressed confidence that such a strategy “will help restore our country’s territorial integrity.”

He also proposed to ease sanctions for violation of Georgia’s law on occupied territories envisaging imprisonment in case of visiting Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi’s notification and permission.

“If somebody tries to violate this law, he/she will face not a small fine,” Ivanishvili said.

Along with this he noted that the Georgian government “has no plans to submit any amendments to the national legislation” concerning the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Ivanishvili said he saw no prospects for Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s access to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

“South Ossetia and Abkhazia are parts of Georgia and their representatives can be present here (in Strasbourg) within our delegation. I see no other prospects,” he said in reply to the Russian delegation’s question.

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