Moscow Ready for ‘Normal’ Relations with Tbilisi, Lavrov Says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today Moscow is ready at any moment to have normal neighborly relations with Georgia if it wants to, provided Tbilisi doesn’t “play the Russian card to save its Western patronage.”

In his remarks with the students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), the top Russian diplomat said Russia had considered granting Georgia visa-free travel but “decided to hold back the possibility after not receiving any kind of apology” following the anti-occupation unrests of June 20, 2019, in Tbilisi.

Dubbing the developments a “rough provocation” against the Russian parliamentary delegation, FM Lavrov cited the same reason for withholding from renewing regular flights to and from Georgia, suspended by Moscow since July 2019.

FM Lavrov noted there are sections of mutual interest between Tbilisi and Moscow, citing economic relations, tourism, and Russia remaining one of the top trading partners of Georgia.

According to FM Lavrov, Moscow has expressed its willingness for restoring diplomatic ties, severed by Tbilisi in 2008 after Russia recognized its occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia as independent, following the August War.

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