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A thaw or just talks about a thaw?11.12.2009 | 17:38
Not so long ago, the Georgian and the Russian experts have jointly stated that one should not expect any thaw in the relationship between Moscow and Tbilisi. These words made yesterdays' statements of President of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev about the prospects of mending relationship between the two countries still more unexpected and encouraging. GeorgiaTimes correspondent tried to find out in Moscow and Tbilisi whether one should expect a real thaw in our relationship or it is only wishful thinking.
President of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev's speech delivered the day before at the 4th European-Asian media forum in Moscow became a pleasant surprise for those who care for the relations between our countries and whose heart is bleeding both for Georgia and Russia.
Answering the journalists' questions, Medvedev stated that there are no specific obstacles for establishing direct flight connection between Russia and Georgia, as well as for the opening of the Verkhniy Lars border checkpoint.
It is notable that an official representative of Ministry of Transport of Russia also reported that "the issue of resuming air traffic between Russia and Georgia might be considered in case of an application from the Georgian party", - the PRIME-TASS agency reports.
Besides, President of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev expressed hope that the time will come when the visa regime with Georgian will also be cancelled. "We are moving towards the visa-free space with the European Union. I hope it will happen in the nearest future. I hope that this time will also come both for Georgian and Russia", - Medvedev is cited by the Trend agency.
The prospect of returning the Georgian products to the Russian market was also touched upon.
However, Georgia's recent foreign policy is based upon the principles of confrontation with Russia and the ruling majority officials do not pick words while speaking about Russia. Thus, the Georgian politicians decided to stick by their own tradition of hailing criticism on Russia.
The response given by member of parliamentary majority Giorgi Gabashvili was far from friendly: "We are also interested in a real rapprochement between Georgia and Russia and the restoration of relationship; however, this is possible only after the de-occupation of Georgia. One cannot speak of any new relationship as long as the process of occupation of Georgia goes on". He underlined that mending relations between the countries might be considered only if the Russian government changes its attitude towards Georgia.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Giga Bokeria told the journalists on December 9 that he does not "consider President Medvedev's statement to be a break-through". "There are fundamental problems between Georgia and Russia; first of all, it is the RF's struggle against the Georgian nationhood and the occupation of the Georgian territories. There is no sense in talking about anything else until this problem is settled", - Bokeria said.
"As to the opening of the Kazbegi - Verkniy Lars checkpoint on the land frontier between Georgia and RF, the issue in not a new one. This is possible should there be no extra problems", - Bokeria underlined. Nevertheless, he expressed an opinion that the opening of the checkpoint "will create no problems for Georgia's national interests".
The Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili welcomed the idea of resuming direct flight connection between Georgia and Russia; at the same time, he stressed the necessity of withdrawing the Russian troops from the territories that Georgia considers to be its own. "The politicians must contribute to the improvement of relationship between the two countries. However, if the issue is touched upon, one should start de-occupation of the Georgian territories", - Yakobashvili is cited by Novosti-Georgia agency.
Today's words of the Georgian president became a total surprise in this context. Mikhail Saakaashvili unambiguously stated that Georgia is ready to resume the flight connection with the Russian Federation and open Verkniy Lars. According to Rosbalt, the statement of the Georgian leader was revealed today by his Press-Speaker Manana Mandzhgaladze.
Well, is it the long-awaited Russian-Georgian thaw? The comments given by President of the Union of Georgians in Moscow Mikhail Khubutia upon the fact go as follows:
-We are really glad that the ice broke up and that a thaw is coming. No secret that it is the wish of both the Georgian and the Russian people. That is why, being the major organization, the Union of Georgians representing the Georgian expatriate community in Russia was the first to come out with such initiative. Afterwards, when the passions faded away, Tbilisi also started voicing the necessity of normalizing the relationship.