Zurab Abashidze: as long as Moscow and Tbilisi have no diplomatic relations, informal dialogue is necessary
The agenda of the February 27 meeting of Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Special Representative of the Georgian Prime Minister for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze will include the implementation of the 2011 trade corridor agreement, the Georgian diplomat said today, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza.
"Our agenda is traditionally tied to trade and economic issues, transport links and some humanitarian problems. On February 27, we will also touch upon the 2011 agreement on monitoring and administration of customs procedures," Zurab Abashidze said.
On May 18, 2019, Russia signed an additional agreement with Switzerland on the performance of customs intermediary functions by the Swiss company Societe Generale de Surveillance SA for the transit of goods from Russia to Georgia and back through the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At present, the procedures that will allow the use of the Abkhaz and Ossetian corridors in the Caucasus are being coordinated between Russia, Georgia and Switzerland.
Having stressed the absence of any dynamics in political issues, Zurab Abashidze praised the achievements in Russian-economic relations. "There is growth in practically all economic items. In particular, the trade turnover in general grew 18% over the year and reached almost $1.5 billion. The number of tourists increased - 1.5 Russians visited Georgia in 2018 for tourism purposes. Our transportation links have also increased," the Special Representative of the Georgian Prime Minister for Relations with Russia said.
He also stressed that Tbilisi supports the continuation of the dialogue in the Karasin-Abashidze format. "We started this informal dialogue back in 2012 and still believe that as long as we have no diplomatic relations, this format should be maintained. Our meetings are regular, every three months, last time we met in October. A considerable amount of time had elapsed since, so on February 27 we will summarize the results of the last year in the main areas - trade, transport, tourism - and discuss the prospects of the current year," Zurab Abashidze concluded.