Georgian opposition leaders will travel to Russia on Thursday to meet Russian officials, opposition representatives and representatives from the Georgian diaspora in Russia in a bid to create a "Georgian lobby in Russia."
The leaders of Georgia's People's Party and Conservative Party, Koba Davitashvili and Kakha Kukava, are among those expected to visit Russia, along with other representatives of the country's National Council. The council comprises several opposition parties, including of the For a Fair Georgia public movement led by former prime minister Zurab Nogaideli.
"We are travelling [to Russia] to discuss issues of the country's unification. We will not discuss the country's interior affairs. We are going to create a public opinion, to create a Georgian lobby in Russia," Davitashvili said.
He said the Georgian delegation would meet representatives of the Georgian diaspora in St. Petersburg, where the World Forum of Georgian Peoples Diaspora will take place on Friday and Saturday.
On April 26-27, the Georgian opposition members are expected to meet with Russian officials and opposition representatives in Moscow, Davitashvili said.
Visits of Georgian opposition representatives to Russia, which have become frequent, have infuriated the Georgian government. Relations between the two countries came to a standstill after the five-day war between Russia and Georgia over the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia in August 2008.
Following the war, Russian recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another former Georgian republic, Abkhazia.
Nogaideli, who has visited Moscow several times in recent months, is expected to arrive in the Russian capital in early May to continue discussions on the resumption of regular flights between Georgia and Russia, which have been halted since the war.
In early March, Nino Burdzhanadze, the former speaker of the Georgian parliament and the leader of the opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia, visited Moscow for talks with Russian political leaders, saying that such dialogue was crucial for Georgia.
During her stay in Moscow, Burdzhanadze, once an ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili, discussed Russian-Georgian relations with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Russian authorities have expressed their readiness to negotiate with "realistically minded" political figures in Georgia, such as Burdzhanadze and Nogaideli. Moscow has stressed the need to find a way out of the impasse in Russian-Georgian relations, saying this is "key to peace in the Trans-Caucasus."
TBILISI, April 22 (RIA Novosti)