TBILISI, March 6 (RIA Novosti) – Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has denied media speculations that he may visit Moscow soon in an attempt to speed up the revival of bilateral ties.
“I think it is still premature to talk about my possible visit to Russia,” Ivanishvili said in an interview with Imedi television on Tuesday.
“My principal position is that we must normalize relations with Russia, but we should achieve this goal by logical steps,” he said.
Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties in 2008 after Moscow recognized de-facto independent Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states following a brief military conflict.
Georgia’s new government, elected in the October 1 polls, said normalizing ties with Russia was among its top priorities.
Russian and Georgian envoys on bilateral relations have held two meetings so far, in an attempt to pave the way for future top-level official contacts.
During the most recent meeting in Prague on March 2, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Georgian prime minister’s special envoy Zurab Abashidze discussed visa regime, Georgia’s participation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, wine exports to Russia, direct flights between Moscow and Tbilisi and other issues.
A number of high-level informal contacts between Russia and Georgia have been held in the past months, including a brief meeting between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Ivanishvili during a forum in Davos, a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II who paid a rare six-day visit to Moscow in January and a meeting of Russian and Georgian members of parliament at a PACE session in Strasbourg.