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Georgia has no plans to restore diplomatic ties with Russia, says head of ruling party

Diplomatic ties with Russia were severed after Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008
Irakli Kobakhidze EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU
Irakli Kobakhidze

TBILISI, August 6./TASS/. Georgia is not planning to discuss with Russia the restoration of diplomatic relations severed after Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but it is ready to discuss deeper cooperation on the economic and humanitarian fronts, the head of the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia ruling party, former parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, told journalists on Friday.

"We have a clearly defined policy regarding these issues (restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia — TASS). There are red lines connected with de-occupation and our integration with the West. Everything can be discussed within the framework of these red lines, but we cannot speak about the restoration of diplomatic relations," Kobakhidze stressed.

He said, however, that Georgia was ready to discuss the deepening of trade, economic and humanitarian ties with Russia. "As for the trade, economic and humanitarian issues, we have always held a discussion on this, and it can be continued," he said.

Moscow is ready to restore bilateral ties with Tbilisi to the extent the Georgian side would be ready, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Alexander Bikantov told a briefing on Thursday.

On September 2, 2008, Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia after Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Georgian Foreign Minister then added that it would maintain consular relations with Russia. A section for Georgian interests has also been set up in Moscow under the Swiss Embassy.

Since 2012, Special Representative of the Georgian Prime Minister for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian former Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin have held regular meetings in Prague. This format has been the only avenue for direct dialogue between Moscow and Tbilisi for some time.