Russian FM Lavrov supports resumption of flights to Georgia as Georgians ‘realised consequences’ of June 20

Russian FM Sergey Lavrov says that he has always supported friendly relations with Georgia.Photo:AP., 26 Sep 2019 - 12:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that he would resume direct flights with Georgia, which were suspended in July 2019, as a majority of Georgians ‘have seen the negative sides’ of the ‘provocation staged’ in the Georgian parliament on June 20.

He said that the Georgian opposition deliberately sparked unrest in the Georgian parliament after the address of Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov from the seat of the Georgian parliament speaker that day, “which was part of an ordinary procedure,” of an international forum, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.

Lavrov stated that now there are “reasonable politicians,” in the Georgian government and expressed hope for improved relations with the country “for which I have always lobbied.”

He stated that Russia had plans to abolish the visa regime with Georgia in the summer of 2019 which was delayed due to the June unrest in Tbilisi.

Speaking about Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and Georgia’s goal to become a member of NATO, Lavrov said that Russia did not enter the regions to hamper Georgia’s NATO integration.

I confirm that we do not want to see NATO near us. However, we entered Abkhazia and Tskhinvali solely to protect locals,” Lavrov stated in his interview with Kommersant.

He said that if NATO accepts Georgian membership with the article on collective defense covering only Tbilisi-administered territory, ‘we will not start a war, but such conduct will undermine our relations with NATO and with countries who are eager to enter the alliance.”

Abkhazia and Tskhinvali have been recognised as independent regions only by Russia, Venezuela, Nikaragua, Nauru and Syria since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.

The rest of the international community says that the regions are occupied by Russia.