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Talks between Russia and Georgia: If only there were no farce2012-12-10 19:06
Russian Foreign Ministry will soon hold a meeting with the Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia. This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on December 9, at a meeting with Vladimir Putin's authorized delegates. Georgian and Russian experts positively estimate the initiative, but note that it is too early to speak of the normalization of bilateral relations. The upcoming meeting is likely to be purely technical, and the talk will touch only the opening of the Russian market for Georgia.
"I do not expect a fundamental breakthrough, since we are still only at the beginning of a long journey", rector of the Georgian Diplomatic Academy, political scientist Soso Tsintsadze admits in an interview to the Big Caucasus. "But the fact that the process has begun is setting on optimistic mood".
According to Tsintsadze, at the meeting they will not address the issue of the "reoccupation of Georgian territories", the restoration of diplomatic relations and the old historical friendship between the two countries. "Our expectations are modest", the expert said. "Probably, at this stage the Georgian side is very happy if we can resolve the economic and trade issues. Opening of the Russian market for Georgian agricultural products - this is, perhaps, the sole issue to discuss at the forthcoming meeting".
"We have already passed the period of the relationship, when Russia was interested in the opening of the Georgian market", Tsintsadze continues. "It has long happened, our market is open, and Russian business feels very comfortable here. Today we are talking about the opening of the Russian market. So Georgia is now clearly more interested in the successful outcome of the negotiations. What's next, what form this relationship will acquire - this is a technical matter".
Senior Fellow of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, President of the Scientific Society, expert in Caucasus Alexander Krylov also believes that Georgia will try to resolve the "painful" issue of admission of goods to the Russian market. From Krylov's point of view, the solution of at least some of the economic problems will allow the new leadership of Georgia to demonstrate its effectiveness, which is "extremely important" for the Georgian government. "Russia could take symbolic measures and give their consent as a gesture of good will", said the expert.
"The level of those who will represent Russia is a very important point", Krylov notes. "Georgian side determines quite clear: its representative is a well-known political figure - Zurab Abashidze. Georgian experts fear that if Russia appoints not serious person as its representative, then the initiative to hold the meeting turns into a farce. Georgia has already called the names of our politicians, who are distinguished by some exotic PR actions. The most suitable figure is considered Kosachev (Kosachev, the Russian diplomat, the head Rossotrudnichestvo - Ed.). I hope that Russia will be represented by a major figure, since the state of bilateral relations cannot be considered normal, and this does not benefit both Russia and Georgia".