“Tbilisi’s growing ties with NATO as well as unfriendly rhetoric of Georgian officials at international organizations are in contrast to strengthening trade, transport and humanitarian ties [with Russia] and potentially may undermine this mutually beneficial process,” says the Russian foreign ministry in a statement after a meeting of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative Zurab Abashidze in Prague.
According to the ministry, positive results reached in transport, trade and humanitarian contacts do stress a possibility for further improvement of the Russian-Georgian relations.
With participation of experts from the two countries, Karasin and Abashidze discussed issues concerning sustainability of the Georgian military road. The parties agreed to continue taking actions to modernize this only overland road connecting Russia and Georgia. “In this context, the sides agreed they are ready to coordinate effort in improving functioning of the Upper Lars – Kazbegi border checkpoint,” the statement runs.
The Russian side stressed it was “necessary to start implementing as soon as possible the 2011 bilateral agreement on customs administration and trade monitoring that would have a good impact upon regional ties.” As a result, the parties agreed to have a meeting of Russian and Georgian experts with participation of Swiss representatives to complete the preparatory work.
The parties agreed to have next Karasin-Abashidze meeting in February 2018.
EADaily reported earlier that the Russian-Georgian trade turnover grew by 33% in nine months of 2017 and totaled $646mn. Supply of Georgian wines to Russia doubled. Russia remains the major importer of wine from Georgia, buying more than a half of the whole Georgian exports.
Transportation has grown between the two countries. More than 300,000 passengers have been transferred by regular and chartered air flights, which is twice more than last year.