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Georgia's FM: Georgian-Russian relations make progress

December 23, 2013, 16:08 UTC+3 TBILISI
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TBILISI, December 23. /ITAR-TASS/. “Some progress was made” in normalising relations between Georgia and Russia, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said on Monday.

“The Georgian government has taken active and concrete steps this year towards normalising relations with the Russian Federation, which also led to adequate responses from Russia,” Panjikidze said.

“Some progress and positive dynamics were achieved in bilateral dialogue between Abashidze and Karasin,” she said, referring to negotiations between the Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

The first meeting of Abashidze with Karasin took place near Geneva on December 14, 2012. The next four meetings were held in Prague in 2013 - in March, in June, in September and in November.

“As for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement, made last week about a visa regime with Georgia, I want to note that we welcome all the steps taken to normalise relations between the two countries,” Panjikidze said, noiting that “normalising relations with Russia will be neither to the detriment of Georgia’s territorial integrity within the internationally accepted borders nor to the detriment of Georgia’s strategic interests”.

Speaking at an annual media conference on Thursday, Putin said that Russia might return to a visa-free regime with Georgia, though the question should be studied at an expert level.

“We see the signals given by the new Georgian government,” Putin said. “Considering the situation's development, we could probably return to a visa-free regime.”

“It would be a good step towards normalising our relations,” he added.

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