Russian Foreign Minister Says Tbilisi Impedes Cooperation

TBILISI (Civil Georgia)–Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview in the Russian newspaper Vremya Novostei–that the Georgian side is hampering more close cooperation between Tbilisi and Moscow.

"Cooperation between Russian and Georgian special services takes place [in fighting terrorism]. We would like for this cooperation to be more effective," Sergei Lavrov said in a September 9 interview.

He expressed regret that ties between the two counties are not as close as was agreed to during talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili–which took place in Moscow in February this year.

"Unfortunately–in practice–the agreemen’s reached in February are being torpedoed by the Georgian side. We hope the Georgian side will understand that unilateral–forceful steps towards the so called Ossetian and Abkhazia problems have no perspective. I hope Tbilisi will understand that seeking an external enemy in the form of Russia is counterproductive–to say the least," the Russian Foreign Minister added.

He reiterated that the Russian side "has offered Tbilisi proposals" aiming at "normalization of all… bilateral relations."

Earlier–the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on the Georgian side to accept proposals offered by the Russian side. In a statement issued on August 27–however–the Georgian Foreign Ministry responded–saying that Georgia had not received any constructive proposals and "in order to publicly dispel any doubts," called on Russia to forward the package of constructive proposals to Georgian Authorities.

Lavrov also stressed that Tbilisi should confirm its commitment to solve the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia through peaceful means. "Creation of this kind of normal environment in relations will increase efficiency of work of the special services [of the two countries] in fighting terrorism," Sergei Lavrov said.

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