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Poles apart: Freeze Russia talks, say Georgia's former rulers, keep talking, says EU

April 02, 2015, 16:25 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
Representatives of Georgia’s former ruling United National Movement call for an end to meetings between envoy on Russia relations Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin
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©  EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

BRUSSELS, April 2. /TASS/. Politicians from Georgia's former ruling party have called for a freeze in dialogue with Russia, seeking "a change in Russia’s policy towards Georgia with help from the West".

The West, meanwhile, says Georgia should keep talking, according to a Georgian specialist on Russian affairs liasing with the European Union and relating a clearly divergent line from Brussels.

Poles apart thus on policy, representatives of Georgia’s former ruling United National Movement call for an end to meetings between envoy on Russia relations Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, proclaiming that "Georgia at this stage should not maintain direct dialogue with Russia".

Meetings between Abashidze and Karasin have become first steps in the face-to-face between officials of Russia and Georgia since deadly border conflict erupted in 2008.

Their first encounter in December 2012 near Geneva was followed by eight meetings in 2013-2014 in Prague. The latest was in February this year with dialogue focused on trade, economic affairs, humanitarian issues and cultural co-operation.

Contact was applauded by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in capital Tbilisi on Wednesday, observing that "dialogue between Abashidze and Karasin and the constructive policy of current Georgian authorities had made it possible to make steps towards normalising relations with Russia".

Abashidze’s efforts were aimed at "forging trade and economic relations with Russia and opening the Russian market for Georgian products", the premier said, drawing comment from Abashidze to reporters on Thursday that "European colleagues are closely following Georgia-Russia dialogue and show understanding of this process".

"I believe that no matter how complex relations between the two countries and the political background may be, it is necessary to continue dialogue with Russia," the envoy added.

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