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Georgian opposition leader urges normalization with Russia

August 31, 13:46 UTC+3 TBILISI
Georgia’s former parliamentary speaker, opposition leader says Vladimir Putin is not an enemy but a political heavyweight
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Nino Burjanadze

Nino Burjanadze


TBILISI, August 31. /TASS/. Georgia’s former parliamentary speaker turned opposition party leader believes that normalization in relations with Russia is in her country’s most vital interests.

Nino Burjanadze, who for the past few years, has chaired the Democratic Movement-United Georgia opposition party said on Tbilisi’s Rustavi-2 television channel that "Putin is not Georgia’s enemy but a political heavyweight."

Politicians, she remarked, "are not somebody’s enemies or friends, they just act proceeding from the interests of their states."

Burjanadze maintains that Georgia’s task is to create conditions in which Putin would not have to treat Georgia as an adversary.

In her opinion, it is in Georgia’s utmost interest to achieve full-scale normalization in relations with Russia, and for that to happen it is not enough to have a dialogue only on issues of trading, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

"The top officials should conduct negotiations on all acute problems that have been accrued in bilateral relations," she noted.

Burjanadze vowed to do everything in her power "to arrange for a dialogue between the top officials, thereby helping set Georgian-Russian relations on a new track."

Georgia’s top officials have had no contacts with Moscow since 2008. Following the August 2008 hostilities that promptly began to be referred to as "the Five-Day War," Moscow recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As a result, Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties with Moscow.

Since December 2012, there have been quarterly meetings between the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin. The two men discuss mostly cooperation in trade, transport and the economy and humanitarian issues.

As her party’s leader, Burjanadze has visited Moscow many times over the past seven years. She has held meetings with the Russian president, prime minster, State Duma speaker and other officials.

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