Ready for meeting with Putin.
12 February 2014

Three months into his Premiership, Georgia's leader, Irakli Garibashvili has indicated that he will be ready to meet with the Russian leadership to sort out Georgia's outstanding problems with its big neighbour. Relations with Russia have overshadowed the actions of all Georgian governments since independence in 1991.

Speaking in an interview on Imedi Television Garibashvili commented about a statement made by President Putin on the margins of the Sochi Olympics that he was ready for a meeting with the Georgian leader. Asked for his reaction Garibashvili said, "If you ask me about readiness, as the head of the Georgian government, I confirm having such readiness to have a direct dialogue; the attitude within the Government is favourable to such a dialogue with the Russian leadership. The format of the meeting, or when and where such a meeting may take place - I would refrain from speaking about such details right now. But I want to state that we also have such readiness."

However Garibashvili also reminded his listerners that Georgia has "a huge outstanding problem with Russia", and that a meeting between the leaders of the two countries will need to be well prepared in advance. Garibashvili also made it clear that Western countries have been advising the Georgian leadership to intensify dialogue with Russia.

Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia when the latter recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the aftermath of the 2008 Georgia-Russia War.

source: with agencies

photo: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili