Nikolai Silaev: "Economic cooperation between Moscow and Tbilisi requires political understanding"

Georgia's State Constitutional Commission approved a draft amendment to the Basic Law of the country, where now should contain a record on the European and Euro-Atlantic course of Tbilisi. Georgia considers the country's accession to the European Union and NATO as unprecedented priorities. Vestnik Kavkaza presents a blitz interview with the senior research fellow of the Caucasus Problems and Regional Security Center at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Nikolai Silaev, on Georgia's relations with its neighbors and major world powers.

- Last week, Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili signed in Tehran several agreements on cooperation in various spheres. One of the main topics of his meetings in Iran was the development of the transit corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea and an agreement on energy cooperation. How would you assess the prospects for the Georgian-Iranian cooperation?

- I would not talk about the rapprochement between Georgia and Iran now. Their dialogue has became more intense after sanctions were lifted from Iran, but, in my opinion, there is nothing to rely on for now. Although the potential for dialogue on economic issues between Tbilisi and Tehran is great - the export of Iranian gas to Georgia, tourism, as well as transport projects.

-  In your opinion, what are the prospects for the Georgian-US cooperation?

- It is very difficult to say, because the US foreign policy of the last months has been improvisation, these are multidirectional vectors, there are a lot of different positions that are not always easy to reconcile with each other. While it is very difficult to predict its results.

- What can you say about relations between Tbilisi and Ankara?

- They are very positive. Another thing is that in Turkey, apparently, there is no broad political vision of how they represent relations with Georgia. Neo-Ottoman prospects in Georgia are regarded with great skepticism, if not to say with great suspicion. But Georgia's economic relations with Turkey are very good.

- In your opinion, what are the prospects of the relations between Moscow and Tbilisi?

- I think that currently the Russian-Georgian normalization has taken a break, it's quite natural. In terms of trade relations, the prospects are good, and, in my opinion, the expansion of economic cooperation in other areas is unlikely until at least some political understanding is reached.

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