Georgia Snubs Russia's Thaw Proposal over South Ossetia

World | March 2, 2012, Friday // 20:21|  views

Photo by RIA Novosti

Georgia will not restore diplomatic relations with Russia as long as Moscow recognizes the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Deputy Georgian Foreign Minister Sergei Kapanadze has declared.

Thus, Kapanadze, speaking on the Russian Ekho Moskvy radio on Friday, rejected on behalf of Tbilisi the Russian proposal for restoring the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Moscow is ready to scrap visa requirements with Georgia and is ready to restore diplomatic relations with Tbilisi.

Lukashevich's remarks followed Georgia's decision to introduce visa-free travel for Russian citizens.

"We are ready to introduce a visa-free regime for Georgian citizens on a reciprocal basis," Lukashevich said. "To that end, the Georgian side should ensure credible security guarantees for Russians visiting Georgia."

"We also propose restoring diplomatic relations between our countries," he said.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, following a five-day war with Georgia. The war began when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders. Russia's decision has been condemned by many nations. In response, Georgia, which considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory, broke off broke off diplomatic relations with Russia.

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Tags: Russia, Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, Moscow, Tbilisi, diplomatic relations, Alexander Lukashevich, 2008, South Ossetia, Abkhazia


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