Tbilisi, Georgia, June 20
By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:
Georgian government does not intend to restore diplomatic relations with Russia as long as the country's territories remain occupied, according to Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze.
Panjikidze made the remarks at a press briefing held on Friday, June 20, commenting on the statement earlier made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin who said that Georgia should take the first steps for resumption of diplomatic relations.
Georgian FM also stressed that at this stage, this issue is not being discussed in any international negotiation format.
"Georgia can not take steps towards the restoration of diplomatic relations as long as 20 percent of the country's territories remain occupied," Panjikidze stressed.
"Russia established diplomatic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and do not recognize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. The restoration of diplomatic relations can be talked about only after Russia withdraws its decision to recognize the independence of Georgian territories," Panjikidze stressed.
Large scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.
Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military.
Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August.
In response, Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow and has called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.
Edited by CN