During meeting with Karasin, 2019 developments were not mentioned at all. This is the interpretation of the Russian side – Zurab Abashidze, Special Representative of Georgian Prime Minister for Russian Relations said in reaction to the statement released by Russian Foreign Ministry about the meeting between Zurab Abashidze and Gregoriy Karasin, a member of the Russian Federal Council on November 27.
“The Russian side raised the issue of restoring air traffic and noted the need to stop Russophobic rhetoric; Our response was – the flights were suspended at the initiative of the Russian side and this issue can be discussed according to the epidemiological situation, but you cannot name any facts of Russophobia against Russian tourists,” said Zurab Abashidze.
According to Abashidze, he said at the meeting that despite the pandemic, large-scale military exercises continue, so-called borderization is ongoing along the occupation line and people are not able to move normally.
“The Prague format, where an informal dialogue is taking place with the Russian side, is designed mainly to discuss practical issues – trade and economic relations, transport links, certain humanitarian issues. We planned to discuss these issues according to the agenda at this meeting too, but often, before moving to the agenda, I raise the issues that are most concerning in Georgia, and this, of course, is related to the occupied territories,” Abashidze said. According to him, he spoke about the difficult situation in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region at the beginning of the meeting.”I talked about the fact that despite the pandemic, large-scale military exercises are held there, so-called borderization is ongoing along the occupation line, people are not able to move normally, human rights are grossly violated, and so on.
I especially emphasized the approval of the program on the formation of a common social and economic space between Russia and Abkhazia, and noted that this was assessed by the Georgian side as another illegal step towards de facto annexation. I expressed hope that a more detailed and substantive discussion of these issues would be held in the format of the Geneva International Talks, which will hopefully take place in the near future,” Zurab Abashidze said.
The Special Representative of the Prime Minister said that the online meeting, as well as previous meetings, was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy of Georgia.