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Georgia-Russia dialogue needs step-by-step progress — envoy

July 03, 2014, 8:49 UTC+3 TBILISI

Georgian prime minister’s special envoy for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze says the process should not be artificially boosted

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TBILISI, July 03. /ITAR-TASS/. A dialogue between Georgia and Russia “proceeds in a calm atmosphere and at a normal pace,” and this is the only right way out of a deadlock, Georgian prime minister’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said on Wednesday.

“A difficult process of bringing back to normal Georgian-Russian relations should not be artificially boosted,” Abashidze told Georgian Public Television, noting that “a major breakthrough in relations between the two countries is not a matter of the near future”.

“We realize that we can get bilateral relations out of a deadlock following the events of 2008 in small steps and in a calm atmosphere,” the special envoy said. “Certain positive results have been achieved in Georgian-Russian relations in the past year-and-a-half,” he said. “In particular, tensions in relations between the two countries have been defused, serious moves have been made to restore and develop trade-economic cooperation, transport and humanitarian spheres,” Abashidze said, noting a “need to continue the process of normalization of Georgian-Russian relations”.

After the victory in the parliamentary election of October 1, 2012, leaders of the Georgian Dream coalition said “normalization of ties with Russia is one of priority tasks for the new authorities”.

On August 8, 2008, Georgian forces attacked the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia sent its forces into the region to protect the citizens of South Ossetia, many of whom held Russian passports, and expelled the Georgian forces. Russia then recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, after which Tbilisi broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow

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