Foreign Ministry: Georgia to start dialogue with Russia only after de-occupation
Georgia, Tbilisi, March 3 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /
Georgia may start a dialogue with the Russian side on restoration of diplomatic relations only after Russia shows that it is ready for such talks, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said at a briefing in Tbilisi on Saturday.
"Russia's readiness to start such a dialogue should be reflected in the withdrawal of its troops from the occupied territories of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the cancellation of the recognition of these breakaway regions," Kalandadze stressed.
The representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said on March 2 about the possible introduction of visa free regime for citizens of Georgia and the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"It is not possible to accept the proposal of the Russian Foreign Ministry on restoration of diplomatic relations amid the occupation of the two Georgian regions," the deputy minister noted.
"We have clearly defined our position. We did not sever relations with Russia on our own. It was a response to concrete illegal steps of Russia, which preceded this rupture. Georgia doesn't impede restoration of these relations, it itself has repeatedly stated this, but only after civilized relations are restored," Kalandadze stressed.
She said "civilized" relations suggest that "three embassies of the same state can not be situated on the territory of Georgia".
"From the moment Russia recognizes the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Georgia, de-occupies our territory and the Russian troops leave Georgia, nothing will hinder negotiations. Restoration of diplomatic relations is the last stage of this process," said the deputy FM.
Military actions were launched in the Georgian territory, South Ossetia on Aug.8 in 2008. Later the Russian troops occupied the Tskhinvali city and drove the Georgian military back. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in late August. In response, Tbilisi broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow and announced two unrecognized republics as the occupied territories.