Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, reiterated on December 9, that he would not have any contacts with his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili and “with some others in leadership”; but also added that it was not a reason for putting off other decisions, including on reopening of border and resumption of direct flights.
“I have numerously said that I am not going to have contacts with the current President and some others in [the Georgian] leadership; our ways have parted and our assessments of developments are absolutely different; I think that President Saakashvili bears direct legal responsibility for the committed crime, but it does not mean that we should postpone all other relations for a later time,” Medvedev told European and Asian Media Forum in Moscow.
“The possibility of conducting direct flights, and opening the Upper Larsi checkpoint – it is a normal topic for discussion and solution. In general I cannot see any specific obstacles here, because it, first of all, concerns the interests of simple people, who always kept and are still keeping ties with each other despite… severe confrontation between our states over some issues on the international arena,”
Land traffic between the two countries was closed with the closure of Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point by Russia in July, 2006; two other border crossing points are located in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but they are considered by Georgia to be operating illegally and entry into Abkhazia and South Ossetia from those points is banned by the Georgian laws.
Speaking at the same Media Forum, Medvedev also said that “there should not be any problems” in respect of import of Georgian products in Russia.
“Products imported to the territory of Russia legally – should be received and sold like other products. The question is how to assist this process. Try to do it through legal methods,” Medvedev said.
Russia banned import of Georgian wines, spirits and mineral waters early 2006, citing health safety concerns.
“They [Russia] can start normalization from any issue they want, but the process should definitely end with de-occupation of our territories,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said while commenting on Medvedev’s remarks.