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TBILISI, November 19. /TASS/. Georgia is prepared to continue an efficient dialogue in relations with Moscow, the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Wednesday.
“Over the past two years, Georgia has been able to reduce to a minimum the tensions in relations with Russia,” Garibashvili said, following his visit to Brussels. “We have managed to launch a direct dialogue with Russia and are ready to continue it in a constructive way,” he said. The prime minister noted however that Georgia would stand firm over the country’s territorial integrity.
Georgian President Georgy Margvelashvili confirmed in late October that he had earlier voiced “readiness for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” In a televised speech, he declared that Tbilisi was offering Russia neighborly and friendly relations “on the basis of territorial integrity and within the framework of Georgia’s internationally recognized borders.”
The Russian leader earlier did not rule out the possibility of meeting with his Georgian counterpart.
Last year, Russia allowed the import of Georgian wine, brandy, tea and dried fruits, as well as tangerines, apples and pears. As a result, bilateral trade turnover has significantly increased, with Moscow ranking among Georgia’s top five trade partners.
Relations between Russia and Georgia hit a low point following the five-day August war in 2008 in South Ossetia, which Moscow later recognized as an independent state along with another region of Abkhazia.
Georgia’s new government which was formed in 2012 declared that improving relations with Moscow would be a top priority. However, the countries’ diplomatic relations, which ended in 2008, have not yet been restored.