Moscow Offers To Reestablish Relations With Georgia
March 02, 2012
by RFE/RL's Georgian Service
Russia has expressed a willingness to restore diplomatic relations with neighboring Georgia, according to a statement posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The offer is an apparent response to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's February 28 offer to establish visa-free travel to Georgia for Russians.
The two countries broke off diplomatic relations following the August 2008 war over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, after which Moscow recognized it and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia.
Saakashvili has said he will continue to fight for the "de-occupation" of the two regions.
Moscow has previously said it would have no relations with the Georgian government as long as Saakashvili was in power.
The Foreign Ministry statement says Russia is interested in "strengthening ties between the peoples of Russia and Georgia" and is prepared to introduce a reciprocal visa-free regime for Georgians.
The statement says Moscow is awaiting a reaction from Tbilisi.
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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