Georgia’s Foreign Minister has met his Russian counterpart in the first high-level talks, since a row began brewing between the two neighbours. Gela Bezhuashvili says he’ll call on Moscow to lift sanctions imposed after Georgia expelled four Russian officers for allegedly spying in September.
These talks will probably not be enough to smooth the waters. President Vladimir Putin has refused to meet the Georgian minister during his stay. But if Bezhuashvili was downcast, he wasn’t showing it.
“I think there’s no obstacle that we can’t overcome with Russia,” he said. “ It’s just a matter of wanting to do this and finding the political will. Both sides need to show leadership on these issues. I´m not pessimistic.”
An incident in Georgia’s pro-Russian breakaway region South Ossetia underlined tensions between the two countries. South Ossetia said it had killed four mercenaries sent by Georgia to stir up trouble before a referendum on independence in November.
Tbilisi rejected the accusations. Georgia’s Foreign Minister says he’ll call on Moscow to realise its influence in the region would be better served by having a good relationship with a stable neighbour.