Abashidze-Karasin talks: The Russian side concerns over NATO's relations with Tbilisi
28 February, 2019
Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, met Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin on the 27th of February in Prague. After the meeting, Grigory Karasin talked about its details with TASS, a major news agency in Russia.

The diplomat told TASS that Russia is interested in improving relations with their Georgian neighbors to an extent that they are ready for and that Moscow is ready to facilitate developing bilateral relations even in the absence of diplomatic relations.

Grigory Karasin said that the Georgian side is informed about Russia’s concerns over NATO's relations with Tbilisi. The diplomat added that statements made by the Georgian politicians about joining the alliance creates nervousness not only in the two country’s relation but also in the region of South Caucasus. He pointed out that Georgia tries to involve Azerbaijan and Armenia in the process and that NATO’s drills do not contribute to the stability and mutual trust in the region.

"We want them to assess more realistically the prospects of the situation in our bilateral relations and in the region as a whole," the diplomat noted.

Besides, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin has warned Georgia of "unpleasant surprises" in his interview with Radio Liberty:

"My message is the same. We should continue to develop relations and I would like to warn my Georgian colleagues about possible unpleasant surprises, as they will be unpleasant for both countries." 

The Abashidze-Karasin talks were initiated by the former Prime Minister and the founder of the ruling party “Georgian Dream” Bidzina Ivanishvili. The format was launched in order to improve the relations with Russia. As opposed to the Geneva International Discussions, the Abashidze-Karasin talks do not focus on political issues but mainly address issues related to trade, economy, humanitarian and cultural aspects of the bilateral relationship.

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