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Georgia’s ties with EU not to rule out wider trade contacts with Russia

July 09, 2014, 15:07 UTC+3 PRAGUE
“The complicated process of normalizing Georgia-Russia relations should not be artificially accelerated”, Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia says
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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin

© EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

PRAGUE, July 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Georgia’s cooperation with the European Union “will not hamper expansion of the country’s trade and economic ties with Russia”, Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze said in Prague.

His meetings with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin “had an agenda of practical issues of trade and economic cooperation, transport, humanitarian and other issues”, Abashidze said. On Wednesday, this would be discussed in the context of Georgia’s association with the EU, the diplomat added.

A week earlier, Abashidze said that “the complicated process of normalizing Georgia-Russia relations should not be artificially accelerated” and a true breakthrough was not to be expected soon.

“We understand that small steps in calm situation can lead the bilateral relations out of deadlock, where they were cornered following the 2008 events,” he said. “The last 1.5 years have seen certain positive results, tensions eased, serious measures have been taken to restore and improve trade and economic ties as well as contacts in transport and humanitarian spheres.”

The diplomats first met near Geneva in December of 2012; four similar meetings took place in Prague last year; the latest meeting was held in Prague in April. This is the first direct dialogue between the two countries’ official representatives after 2008.

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