Russia’s Lavrov on Relations with Georgia

In a lengthy interview with Trud, a Russian newspaper, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, among others, spoke of Russo-Georgian relations.

“We fully support the course initiated by the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia in 2012 on the normalization of bilateral relations,” FM Lavrov said, adding however that “our Georgian partners, who periodically play the anti-Russian card for opportunistic purposes, clearly lack consistency in this regard.”

Noting that the two countries are interacting amid the absence of diplomatic relations, Russian Foreign Minister stated that “Russia has stably advocated for mutually beneficial and friendly relations with Georgia.”

Speaking of increasing ties between the two nations, Lavrov recalled that Russia ranks the second foreign trading partner for Georgia and that Georgia sells 2/3 of its wine production on the Russian market. He noted that bus and air travel between two countries resumed in 2013 and 2014, respectively and that “cultural, sports, scientific, religious, and business contacts have intensified.”

However, Lavrov went on, “emerging positive dynamics largely curtailed by the events of June-July 2019 in Tbilisi, when, in response to the provocation of Georgian nationalist radicals, Russian President imposed a temporary ban on air transportation to Georgia.” He expressed hope that the flights will resume in the near future, considering the state of the pandemic in the region and the world, among others.

Russian Foreign Minister said, “we also count on the early resumption of the political dialogue interrupted due to the pandemic, both in the format of Karasin – Abashidze, and at the International Geneva Discussions.”

“Russia always cherished the ties of friendship with the friendly Georgian nation with whom we have lived in a single state under different names [1] for more than one century. We are convinced that the speedy overcoming of existing differences, restoration, and full development of the bilateral ties meets the long-term interests of our countries and peoples,” Lavrov concluded.

[1] The Russian Empire annexed the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, Eastern Georgia, against the latter’s will in 1801 and later annexed other Georgian kingdoms and principalities throughout the 19th century.  Georgia saw itself liberated following 117-years-long Russian rule in 1918. In February-March 1921, Soviet Russia occupied the short-lived Democratic Republic of Georgia, independence of which it recognized some nine months before. Georgia declared the restoration of independence from the USSR some seven decades after in 1991. –’s editorial note. 

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