Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Georgia to mend ties with Russia

Georgian foreign minister Maia Panjikidze says her country will try to improve soured relations with Russia.

Panjikidze gave an interview to NHK on Monday in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. She said Georgia has very complicated problems with Russia, but it intends to promote political dialogue with Moscow.

Georgia and Russia severed diplomatic ties after their brief war in 2008 over the secession of Georgia's breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Russia recognizes the 2 provinces as independent states.

Panjikidze stressed Georgia's sovereignty over the 2 provinces. She said Russia continues to have unlawful influence over the 2 territories.

Georgia has sent athletes to the in-progress Sochi Winter Olympics, although it indicated it would boycott the games in Russia. Panjikidze said the Olympics are a sporting event not a political one.

Georgia has been trying to mend relations with Russia after former pro-West president Mikheil Saakashvili left his post last year. He was in office at the time of the 2008 war.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is ready to meet Georgian leaders to solve the bilateral rift.

Putin said the Olympic Games will provide a good opportunity to improve relations that are thought to be very difficult.