Q: A meeting of Grigoriy Karasin, State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Zurab Abashidze, Georgian Prime Minister's Special Representative for Relations with Russia, was held on February 7. Despite the fact that it was a regular meeting in this format, information about its outcome attracted public attention in South Ossetia. What are the reasons of that?
A: Reportedly, economic, trade and humanitarian issues, that are of mutual interest in bilateral Russian-Georgia relations were discussed at the meeting in Prague.
Particularly, there was a discussion on implementing the intergovernmental agreement signed in 2011 between the Russian Federation and Georgia on the basic principles for a Mechanism of customs administration and monitoring of trade in goods.
The agreement provides for opening additional transport corridors between the Russian Federation and Georgia that could help to increase the trade exchanges between the countries. According to the Annex 1 to the Agreement, one of these transit corridors is expected to pave on territory of the Republic of South Ossetia.
The Republic of South Ossetia is neither a party of this agreement, nor has any other bilateral legal obligations, that could allow functioning on its territory the transit transport communication between Georgia and Russia. That’s why it is still difficult to say how this agreement will be implemented in practical way, especially if we take in consideration the status of South Ossetia-Georgian relations.
Public concern about similar information is understandable, as such issues, without any doubt, affect interests of South Ossetia, particularly in the field of security, economy and ecology. However, I would ask not to rush to conclusions and emotionalize discussions on these issues. The issue of transit of goods through the territory of South Ossetia can only be solved through negotiations with the authorities of the Republic of South Ossetia and on the basis of appropriate juridical base.
Tskhinval, February 10,2017