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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

 

Statement on Russia's Offer to Restore Diplomatic Relations with Georgia

logoPresident Mikheil Saakashvili earlier this week announced that Georgia will unilaterally abolish visa requirements for Russian citizens. This action underscores Georgia's willingness to open itself fully to Russian business, investors, and tourists in order to enhance people-to-people contacts and promote cultural, economic, and humanitarian interaction between the two nations. 

Georgia would welcome if Russia were to reciprocate this move by abolishing visa requirements for Georgian citizens-an initiative that would genuinely strengthen relations between the two nations. Instead, the Russian government set forth a series of politicized preconditions that cast serious doubt on its willingness to proceed down this path.

Earlier today, Russia resorted to political theatrics by offering to restore diplomatic relations with Georgia.It is obvious that diplomatic relations can only be restored between the two countries once there is only one Russian embassy operating on the internationally recognized teritory of Georgia, and not three as it is currently.

President Saakashvili and the Georgian government have offered repeatedly to enter into an unconditional dialogue with Russia-at any level-in order to earnestly address the issues that divide the two countries. These include Russia's occupation of 20% of Georgia's territory, its ethnic cleansing campaign that has made IDPs of over 400,000 Georgians, and its refusal to recognize Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

A substantive dialogue that addresses these grave concerns is a necessary precursor to the full restoration of diplomatic relations.A full dialogue between Georgia and Russia must lead not only to the restoration of diplomatic relations, but also to the withdrawal of Russian troops illegally occupying Georgian territory, the full implementation of the August 12, 2008, ceasefire agreement, and the recognition of the internationally recognized borders of both nations. 

We are certain that once Russia begins to reverse its occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia, the restoration of diplomatic ties will take place naturally.

 

Tbilisi, 3 March 2012

 
 

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