Georgia Seeks to Repair Relations With Russia

© Sputnik / Irina OvchinnikovaTbilisi
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Tbilisi wants to restore ties with Moscow and does not hope for NATO membership in the near future.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Republic of Georgia seeks to ease its confrontational stance against and repair ties with Russia, Georgia’s special envoy for relations with Russia said, as cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Zurab Abashidze, who was appointed to the post in late 2012 when it was set up, told the publication on Friday the country’s ambitions to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are “not the question of today, or of tomorrow.”

“Why create illusions for people? We are not defended, and this is the reality of this difficult region,” Abashidze said.

The publication went on to say security and economic considerations have driven the Georgian government to incrementally pivot away from a pro-Western course and toward Russia.

Abashidze said Tbilisi’s NATO ambitions were still alive, “but we have to get to that day without destroying the country.”

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NATO’s planned enlargement in Georgia and Ukraine, as well as widely reported plans to expand its military presence and missions in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, is viewed as a national security threat in Moscow.

Georgia’s relations with Russia deteriorated following its 2008 offensive against the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, leading to the five-day military conflict with Russia.

Both regions declared their independence from Georgia in the early 1990s and were recognized by Russia following the conflict. Tbilisi continues to consider South Ossetia and Abkhazia as occupied territories.

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