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Bidzina Ivanishvili: Georgia intends to restore relations with Russia, but it will take time

July 02, 2013, 23:49 UTC+3

Georgian Prime Minister said in an interview with Deutsche Welle

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BERLIN, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - The first stage of restoring relations between Georgia and Russia passed “very quickly and successfully”, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said.

“There are prospects for further normalisation of relations, but it will take time and proper conditions,” he said in an interview with Deutsche Welle published on Tuesday, July 2.

Ivanishvili noted that “trade relations have been practically restored and Georgian products have returned to the Russian market.”

“We are working actively to resume regular air service between Moscow and Tbilisi, and negotiations are underway to facilitate and even abolish visa regulations,” he added.

At the same time, the prime minister admitted that certain disagreements remain between the two countries, specifically over the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

For this reason, he believes that “diplomatic relations are unlikely to be restored before the [Olympic] Games in Sochi” in 2014.

According to Ivanishvili, South Ossetia and Abkhazia should “make up their own mind”, and Georgia, in turn, will seek to build “an attractive state for Abkhazians and Ossetians”.

“There are no other ways except for friendly relations and negotiations,” he said.

Ivanishvili promised every support and assistance in ensuring security during the Olympic Games in Sochi and expressed hope that they could become a “turning point” in bilateral relations.

Speaking about Georgia’s cooperation with NATO, he noted that “it’s hard to combine good relations with Russia and membership in NATO” but there are many examples of such countries as Baltic states, the Czech Republic and Poland, which have done it.

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