Karasin, Abashidze meet in Prague to confirm commitment to continue course toward normalization of Russia-Georgia relations – Russian Foreign Ministry

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MOSCOW. June 27 (Interfax) – Another meeting between Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Zurab Abashidze, Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, was held in Prague, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The parties have confirmed readiness to continue the pragmatic course toward step-by-step normalization of the bilateral relations,” the Russian ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

However, it was once again noted by the Russian side that “the unfriendly rhetoric aired by Georgian officials, in particular, in the context of the electoral campaign, is contradicting the process that is effectively beneficial for the both sides”, it said.

The parties agreed to decide on the date of the next meeting later.

The Georgian and Russian representatives discussed trade and transport cooperation, and acknowledged some progress in a number of areas, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“[The pair] continued the constructive dialogue on the concrete issues of intensifying Russian-Georgian ties in those areas where, in the absence of diplomatic relations, progress is possible: trade, transport, humanitarian contacts,” according to the statement, which was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

“The results in these spheres are evident,” it said.

“For example, the first quarter of this year saw a noticeable rise in bilateral trade. Russia continues to remain Georgia’s second biggest trade partner and chief market for its wine products. It is expected that planned contacts between the two countries’ chambers of commerce and industry will further strengthen the Russian-Georgian economic interaction,” the statement said.

The parties also “acknowledged the continued increase in the passenger and cargo traffic between Russia and Georgia, providing a backdrop for successful cooperation between the two countries’ transport authorities, and also between Russian and Georgian railway companies,” the ministry said.

“Thanks to their joint efforts, the two countries were able to agree on mutual release of a number of their citizens held in prison,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.