Tbilisi and Moscow to hold first direct talks

Tbilisi and Moscow to hold first direct talks

TBILISI - Agence France-Presse
Georgia and Russia are set to hold their first direct diplomatic talks since the arch-foes severed ties after the 2008 war over South Ossetia, Georgia’s foreign minister said yesterday.

Georgia and Russia have not had diplomatic relations since the brief 2008 war and the Kremlin refuses to have any dealings with President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s special representative for Russia Zurab Abashidze will meet Russian diplomats “this week in Europe,” Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told journalists, declining to specify the location. “We may not expect any concrete positive outcome from this meeting, but the fact that a first meeting takes place is already positive,” she added.

Normalizing ties is Ivanishvili’s priority

Since the war, Russian and Georgian diplomats meet regularly in Geneva for talks hosted by the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The talks have not so far resulted in any major decisions or compromises.

Ivanishvili made normalizing ties with Russia his foreign policy priority after his Georgian Dream coalition defeated Saakashvili’s party in a parliamentary election two months ago.