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Thorough preparation needed for meeting of Georgian and Russian presidents

April 21, 2014, 23:50 UTC+3 TBILISI
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TBILISI, April 21, /ITAR-TASS/. A meeting between the presidents of Georgia and Russia should be thoroughly prepared as holding it just for the sake of holding “will make no sense”, Georgian President Georgy Margvelashvili said on Monday, April 21.

“If such a meeting takes place, it can and should discuss the most important, pressing and complex issues of relations between Georgia and Russia,” the president told the local Maestro television company.

“But no preparatory work for such a meeting has been done so far,” he added.

On April 20, the Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze warned against rushing the meeting between the presidents of the two countries.

He said that at his meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin such a meeting had been discussed among other issues only as a possibility.

On February 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not rule out a meeting with Margvelashvili.

Replying to a question from a Georgian journalist at the Sochi Olympics media centre earlier in the day whether he would like to meet with the president of Georgia, Putin said: “Why not, if he expresses such a wish.”

“We would very much want to see the tragedies of the previous years become a thing of the past as soon as possible. We understand that it is not an easy process, but Russia is committed to a positive development of relations with Georgia,” the president added.

Margvelashvili said he would “seriously analyse” Putin’s remarks about a possible meeting between them.

“We watch closely every message from Russia because Georgian-Russian relations are among the most painful and thorny issues that are facing Georgia,” Margvelashvili said. “Therefore we will analyse today’s words [said by Putin] very seriously and thoroughly, hold consultations and form our position,” he said.

“If there is a possibility that such a meeting will give a positive impetus to Georgian-Russian relations, if there is the readiness to discuss serious issues, this will naturally serve as the basis for consultations both inside Georgia and with our Western colleagues and as the basis for thinking about the possibility of holding such a meeting,” the Georgian president said.

Margvelashvili said earlier he would continue efforts to normalise relations with Russia if elected.

“The new government of Georgia has taken a number of steps in the past several months to normalise relations with Russia. This policy will be continued,” he said.

Russia and Georgia have been trying to normalise their relations on different fronts, including through the dialogue between Karasin and Abashidze.

Georgia’s attempt to normalise relations with Russia through dialogue “is not very successful thus far but promising”, Margvelashvili said.

“Tbilisi’s attempt to develop relations with Moscow through dialogue has not been very successful thus far, but we believe that it is promising, especially if our Western partners get engaged and support these talks,” the president said.

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