Tbiliisi Moves to Improve Relations With Moscow

TBILISI (Armenpress)–After years of tension in Georgian-Russian relations–official Tbilisi now seems to be moving to improve relationship with Moscow in a bid to avoid significant foreign relations challenges due to its strategically important geopolitical location.

Tbilisi hopes that improvement of Georgian-Russian relations will lead to the resolution of problematic issues–such as Russia’s role in Abkhazia and the continued presence of Russian military bases in Georgia–which were supposed to be dismantled as part of the 1999 OSCE Istanbul agreement.

A senior Russian official of the foreign ministry Boris Pastukhov was quoted by Georgian Prime News as saying that the Georgian-Russian agreement on friendship–good neighbor relations and cooperation may be sealed before the end of the year.

Speaking to reporters after a recurrent round of Georgian-Russian talks in Moscow Pastukhov said the they were centered on payment of mutual debts–political cooperation in security issues. "Despite the complexity of the discussed issues–the talks were productive," he said.

Georgian Foreign Minister Irakly Menagharishvili–who led the Georgian delegation to Moscow–was quoted by Prime News as saying that "we were rather seeking solutions to the problems between our countries than debating and in many cases we have managed to find solutions which comply with the spirit of the future agreement," he said.

Georgian security council secretary was also quoted by Prime News agency as saying that two groups were working in Moscow to prepare a meeting between Russian Putin and Shevardnadze. The exact venue and date of the meeting is not yet specified–as "many factors should be taken into account."

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