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TBILISI, January 11. /TASS/. A next round of talks between Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin is "scheduled for the first half of February, 2017 in Prague," Abashidze told TASS on Wednesday.
In the latest telephone conversation with Karasin, "a prior agreement was made that the next meeting in the ‘Abashidze-Karasin’ format will most probably take place in Prague in the first half of February," he said.
The meeting will focus on "the issues of the two countries’ cooperation in trade, economy, transport, culture, humanitarian aspects and current issues," Abashidze said.
In November 2012, Georgia’s then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili established a post of "the prime minister’s special envoy for relations with Russia" and appointed Zurab Abashidze, a renowned diplomat and the country’s ambassador to Russia between 2000 and 2004.
On December 14, 2012, Abashidze’s first meeting with Karasin, who is the state secretary and a deputy foreign minister, took place in a Geneva suburb, a breakthrough after the cutoff of Russia-Georgia diplomatic ties in 2008. Later, the senior diplomats held meetings in the Czech capital of Prague between 2013 and 2016, with the latest of them on October 19, focusing on cooperation in trade, economy, transport, culture, humanitarian and current issues.
On September 2, 2008 Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia "over activities of the Russian Federation in Georgia in August 2008 and recognition of (independence) of Abkhazia and the Tskhinval region (the way the Georgian authorities refer to South Ossetia - TASS) by Russia." Nonetheless, the country’s foreign ministry said "consular relations with Russia will be preserved." In March 2009, Russian Federation Interests Section has been opened at the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi and the Georgian Interests Section has been operating at the Swiss embassy in Moscow since then as well.
Moscow recognized as independent two Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, following Georgia's attack on South Ossetia that entailed Russia's peacemaking operation in August 2008.