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Georgian Prime Minister Reaches Out to Russia

Moscow welcomes overture to improve bilateral relations, but says the death of a Georgian national in South Ossetia should not be part of the conversation. 13 March 2018

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has urged Russia “to take joint steps” to resolve the “difficult situation” regarding the death of Georgian national Archil Tatunashvili in South Ossetia last month, Georgian news outlet reports.


Giorgi Kvirikashvili
In an appeal to Russia released 9 March, Kvirikashvili (pictured) also reiterated his earlier statement that Georgia is now ready for a direct dialogue with South Ossetia and its other breakaway region of Abkhazia, and that “Russia’s constructive approach would only be welcomed to that end.”


Both territories have survived primarily on Russian aid since they fought to secede from Georgia in the early 1990s. Moscow recognized their independence after sweeping Georgian forces aside during their five-day 2008 war, fought mostly in South Ossetia.


Reacting to Kvirikashvili’s remarks yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “satisfied to see the intention to continue and expand the process of bilateral liberalization,” and that Russia “is ready to move forward as much as Tbilisi is ready,” according to TASS.


The foreign ministry also hailed Kvirikashvili’s call for direct dialogue with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


The ministry called the death of Tatunashvili “a regrettable incident” but said it fell outside the framework of bilateral Russian-Georgian relations.


Tatunashvili died under custody of South Ossetian security personnel after he was arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks. His body has still not been returned to his family, pending the results of an autopsy. Two other Georgians arrested with him were allowed to return to Georgia over the weekend, reports.


  • The United States, NATO, the European Union, and several other countries have called on Russia and South Ossetia to return Tatunashvili’s body to his family in Georgia, says.


  • Kvirikashvili said he hopes Russia and Georgia will make progress during the next round of bilateral talks in Geneva. Since the severing of diplomatic ties after the 2008 war, this format has been the only means of official communication between the two countries.


  • Kvirikashvili proposed making the Geneva talks more serious by sending weightier delegations at ministerial level, and announced he was ready to participate himself, according to

Compiled by Wasse Jonkhans

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The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

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