Moscow is ready to resume a dialogue with Tbilisi only if Georgia recognizes the sovereignty of its former republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia after their August 2008 war over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia lost one-fifth of its territory after the two republics broke away.
“This is not an easy way, but Russia has been always saying that we are ready for a dialogue with new Georgian authorities. But of course, only with the account of the existing geopolitical realities and decisions to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Medvedev said in an interview with Kommersant business daily.
The Russian premier said talks on resuming relations with Georgia are more realistic after Georgia formed a new parliament following elections in October.
“I once said that the only one who I would not be sharing a table with is [Georgian President] Mikheil Saakashvili. He started a war and committed a crime. The crime first of all against Georgian people and other peoples… The new prime minister represents another generation of politicians and we will see what his real actions will be,” Medvedev said.
The Georgian Dream coalition, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, won in October 1 parliamentary election securing 85 out of 150 seats in the parliament.
Earlier in the month, Prime Minister Ivanishvili said that Tbilisi is restarting its ties with Moscow “from a clean slate” but the restoration of diplomatic relations will be linked to the issue of the country’s territorial integrity.
Moscow, however, keeps ruling out any negotiations on the status of former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as independent states.