Georgia, Russia Enter Key Crisis Talks

Georgia's foreign minister was due in Moscow for meetings with his Russian counterpart in the first high-level talks between the countries since long-simmering tensions exploded into open diplomatic conflict in September.

But as accusations continued to fly from all sides, there was little indication of an imminent breakthrough in the crisis, which has seen Russia cut off all transport ties with Georgia and deport hundreds of Georgian citizens.

A Kremlin source told the Interfax news agency that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bezhuashvili was considered on the eve of his arrival, but ultimately rejected.

"We always welcome any dialogue, so the arrival of the Georgian foreign minister in Moscow is a good signal, but a single contact will not solve the problem," said Igor Ivanov, the head of Russia's security council, who is also due to meet Bezhuashvili.

He said the success of the talks would depend entirely on what Georgia brings to the table, saying that it was up to Tbilisi to solve a crisis it had caused.

"We consider that the tensions that have arisen are the result of the policies of the current Georgian authorities. If (they) change their policies, then of course the atmosphere of our relations will change."

Georgia's minister for the conflict settlement, Merab Antadze, who is also due to take part in the negotiations, said Tuesday that new initiatives to settle the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts would be presented at the meetings, but he gave no details, ITAR-TASS reported.

The brief arrest of four Russian officers accused of spying was the immediate cause of the current conflict.

Source: AFP

Other news