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Georgia PM keen on Russia visit
July 27, 2013, 5:00 am

Georgia’s new government, elected in October 2012 polls, said normalising ties with Russia was among its top priorities [AP Images]

The Georgian prime minister has been keen on reinstating diplomatic relations between the two nations [AP Images]

In a fresh bid to restore ties with Russia, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has expressed hope to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“My visit [to Russia] has not been planned yet,” he said. “Unfortunately, our relations are not at such level to discuss the visit. Although, everything is done on my behalf for it [for the visit] and it will take place. I hope so.”

Ivanishvili has been keen on reinstating diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in 2008.

The two nations severed diplomatic ties after Moscow recognised de-facto independent Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he supports restoring “full-scale relations”.

Moscow recently lifted its ban on sales of Georgian wine and mineral water in Russia.

Ivanishvili has said that Russian-Georgian relations have to move one step at a time.

“Georgian products entered the Russian market, we are planning regular flights and simplified visa regime, but negative tendencies remain… Misunderstanding will remain in the future, but we must improve our relations with Russia step by step,” Ivanishvili said.

Eighty two per cent of Georgians spoke in favour of restoring relations with Russia, a poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) said in June this year.

Georgia has long been the ‘pivot of geopolitical rivalry’ between the West and Russia.

Georgia’s new government, elected in October polls, said normalising ties with Russia was among its top priorities.

Earlier in June this year, NATO warned the new government of Georgia to avoid “selective justice” against officials who have served under the former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

“I want to make clear that we follow recent arrests of former government officials with a great concern,” NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a joint news conference with Saakashvili.

With inputs from Agencies

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