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  Thursday, November 14, 2019
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Russia has fulfilled all the promises it has made to Georgia,
Russia has fulfilled all the promises it has made to Georgia, and expects the ex-Soviet republic to respond accordingly, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in the lower house of parliament Tuesday.

"We are fulfilling all the promises made at a meeting between [the two countries'] presidents in February. We expect a mutual, appropriate response from Georgia, but have so far seen nothing," Lavrov said when addressing State Duma hearings on conflict settlements in the CIS.

The Russian minister said Russia had resumed air links with Georgia, canceled some visa restrictions and is preparing to negotiate the return of Georgian agricultural products to Russian supermarket shelves.

He called on Georgia to start making steps to contribute to the development of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two Georgian breakaway republics, and stop acts of provocation. "In general, we want to restore good-neighborly relations with Georgia," he said.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict and some 3,000 in Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities.

Georgia is looking to regain control over the two de facto independent republics, and accuses Russia of trying to annex them.

Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have drastically deteriorated since the Kremlin called for closer ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in mid-April.

Russia recently increased the number of its peacekeepers in Abkhazia but said numbers were still within previously agreed limits on troop numbers.

Lavrov assessed the situation in the conflict zones as tense. "Contrary to the Moscow agreement, Georgia is concentrating its troops on the border with conflict zones, is buying more offensive armaments, and for the past month has continued its overflights, in particular, Abkhazia shot down seven Georgian drones," he said.

Asked whether Russia would support the unrecognized republics should a war with Georgia erupt, Lavrov evaded a direct answer, saying: "I hope this will not happen, and the Georgian side will be able to refrain from the temptation to resolve the conflict by force," he said.


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