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Russia, Georgia agree to hold expert consultations on trade and economic issues

June 23, 2014, 18:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, June 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin has held a telephone talk with Georgian special envoy Zurab Abashidze for expert consultations on trade and economic issues.

“During the talk, the high-ranking officials discussed bilateral issues, including expert consultations on trade and economic problems in the context of Georgia’s signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia was not planning to expand the existing format of talks with Georgia.

The informal dialogue between the high-ranking officials allowed the parties to achieve progress in several issues — humanitarian and economic fields, and transport, Lukashevich said.

The meetings between the prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin represent the first direct dialogue between government officials since 2008. Their first meeting took place on December 14, 2012 in Geneva’s suburb and the following four in Prague in March, June, September and November 2013.

Abashidze and Karasin were initially scheduled to meet on March 4 but agreed to postpone the consultations until March 14 and then put them off “until a later date”.

In March 2014, Abashidze noted that the forthcoming meeting in Prague would “traditionally cover such topics as the development of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of trade, transport and economy”. It was announced in late February that the diplomats might also discuss “the possibility of organizing and holding a meeting between the Georgian and Russian top officials”, but neither side has mentioned this again in recent weeks.

The first meeting between Russian and Georgian envoys on bilateral relations was held in Geneva on December 14. The sides agreed to hold such meetings once in two months.

A number of high-level informal contacts between Russia and Georgia have been held in the past months, including a brief meeting between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Georgian counterpart Bidzina Ivanishvili during a forum in Davos, a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II who paid a rare six-day visit to Moscow in January and a meeting of Russian and Georgian members of parliament at a PACE session in Strasbourg.

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