TBILISI, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Georgia are unlikely to restore their diplomatic ties by the time Russia holds the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in its southern Black Sea resort of Sochi, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said.
“Probably not. For this you need time and the right conditions,” Ivanishvili told Deutsche Welle in an interview when the German broadcaster asked him if that was possible.
However, he said, “an improvement in Russian-Georgian relations is certainly possible. Some positive changes are already taking place. Economic relations have practically recovered.”
“We are working on resuming regular flights between Moscow and Tbilisi. There are ongoing negotiations on visa facilitation and even the abolition of visas. But one thing is problematic, for example, the construction of barriers at the borders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Ivanishvili, Georgia’s premier since October 2012, said.
Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties in 2008 after Moscow recognized de-facto independent Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states following a brief military conflict over South Ossetia. Georgia’s new government, elected in the October 1, 2012 polls, said normalizing ties with Russia was among its top priorities.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.