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    Georgia, Russia Try to Normalize Trade, Tourism, Culture Ties – Georgian PM

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    Russia and Georgia want to normalize relations in certain spheres, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Friday.

    LONDON (Sputnik) – The Georgian prime minister said that his country tries to avoid confrontation rhetoric speaking about relations with Russia and focuses on positive legacy of Russian-Georgian ties.

    Kvirikashvili also pointed out the growing Georgian attractiveness for Russian tourists.

    “Hundreds thousands of Russian tourists are coming to Georgia. Georgia is becoming the most popular destination for Russian tourists,” he said.

    “Despite that [progress in other spheres] we have no progress in politics… We are trying to normalize at least those spheres where there is progress – trade, tourism and culture,” Kvirikashvili said during a meeting with experts in London.

    He called Russia the greatest point of concern for the Georgian foreign policy but noted that after severe deterioration of bilateral relations in 2008, the countries are searching for ways of easing tensions.

    Russian-Georgian relations worsened in August 2008, when Georgia started military operation against its split region of South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeeper troops stationed in the area.

    In response Russia launched peace enforcement operation, defeated Georgian troops and recognized independence of two Georgian regions: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia regards these territories as occupied by Russia.

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