Russia wants a Georgian commitment not to allow foreign military bases on its soil, the Russian daily Kommersant reported on February 22, quoting Russian foreign ministry official.
“There is a number of concrete steps Georgia should undertake to confirm its readiness to smooth out relations with us,” Andrey Kelin, head of the CIS department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Kommersant. Legally binding commitments on the non-deployment of foreign troops is among them, he said.
“Our [military] bases have been withdrawn from Georgia under the precondition of this pledge [by Georgia not to host foreign bases], which hasn't been honoured yet. So in the context of Georgia’s NATO aspiration, it is of crucial importance for us that Georgia pass a law on the non-deployment of foreign troops on its soil,” he said.
Moscow - before normalising relations - also wants, according to Kommersant, Georgia’s go-ahead for Russian WTO membership. “If Tbilisi fails to show the amiability expected by Moscow, Russia can always resort to more decisive support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Kommersant wrote.