MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Russia hails Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili’s statement about readiness to normalize bilateral relations, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.
"Moscow took notice of Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili’s statement of March 9. We are satisfied to see the intention to continue and expand the process of bilateral liberalization," the ministry said. "There should be no doubt that Russia has always been interested in promotion of healthy relations with neighboring Georgia and is ready to move forward as much as Tbilisi is ready."
The Georgian prime minister’s words about his country’s "aspiration for progress at the Geneva consultations inspire hope that the Georgian side would demonstrate a constructive approach during the next round in later March," the ministry said. "We are convinced that such an approach would be supported by other participants in the talks, no matter who leads Georgia’s delegation to Geneva."
"We cannot but hail Georgia’s declared aspiration for a direct dialogue with Abkhazia and South Ossetia," the ministry stressed. "This is the only real path to settling problems that are beyond the Russian-Georgian bilateral agenda."
Severance of diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia
Tbilisi severed diplomatic relations with Moscow on September 2, 2008 after Russia had recognized Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence. The Georgian foreign ministry said back then it would maintain consular relations with Russia. A section of Russian interests employing Russian diplomats has been operating at the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi since March 2009, and a similar Georgian section has been operating under the Swiss embassy in Moscow.
In November 2012, Georgia’s the then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili established an office of prime minister’s special envoy for relations with Russia and appointed diplomat Zurab Abarshidze, Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia in 2000-2004, to that post. On December 14, 2012, Abashidze’s first meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin took place in a Geneva suburb. It resumed direct dialogue between the two countries officials suspended after the 2008 developments. Further meetings were held in Prague, with the latest one taking place on January 31, 2018. Such meetings typically focus on issues of cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, transport and culture.