TBILISI, June 2. /TASS/. Georgia needs direct dialogue with Russia to resolve problems related to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Nino Burdzhanadze, former speaker of Georgia’s parliament who now leads the opposition party United Georgia - Democratic Movement, said on Sunday.
"Problems cannot be resolved only through direct dialogue with the Abkhazians and South Ossetians, despite the fact that we have always been stressing the necessity of such dialogue. Solution to this problem can be found only when direct dialogue with the Abkhazians and South Ossetians is supplemented by direct dialogue with Moscow. So, please get over your fears and admit that these problems would never get out of the dead end without direct dialogue with Russia," Interpressnews, a Georgian news agency, quoted her as saying.
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 only 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 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. The latest such meeting was held in February 2019.