Georgia seeks friendly ties with Russia: Minister

May 8th, 2008 - 7:32 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Tbilisi, May 8 (RIA Novosti) Georgia wants friendly relations with Russia and is ready to have a ‘flexible policy’ with Moscow, but will never give up its national security, the deputy foreign minister of the Caucasian republic has said. “We are interested in good relations with Russia based on equality. But the only thing which is unacceptable to us is improving relations with Russia at the expense of our sovereignty and national interests,” Giga Bokeria told reporters here Wednesday.

Tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi have escalated rapidly since Russia’s Vladimir Putin called for closer ties between Moscow and the two breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in mid-April.

Russia, which has administered a peacekeeping contingent in Georgia’s breakaway regions since bloody conflicts in the 1990s, dispatched additional troops to Abkhazia recently to deter what it calls a planned Georgian military offensive. Tbilisi accuses Russian troops of siding with separatists.

Earlier this week Georgian Reintegration Minister Timur Yakobashvili told the European Parliament in Brussels that Georgia was “very close” to war with Russia.

Commenting on the statement, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said: “Georgia is extremely close to a war, but Georgia is itself to blame for this.”

Abkhazia, along with South Ossetia, broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and some 3,000 in Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities.

Georgia is looking to regain control over the two de facto independent republics.
RIA Novosti

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