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Georgian, Russian Officials Hold Talks In Moscow

Gela Bezhuashvili in Moscow on November 1 (ITAR-TASS) November 1, 2006 -- Georgia's Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow today.

It was the first-high level talks between the two sides since the latest crisis in bilateral relations erupted in September.

Lavrov said he hoped the talks would help normalize relations.

Bezhuashivili said his government was ready for dialogue.

"My colleagues and I here are ready -- and the country's government at home is also ready -- to mend relations so that both neighbors live respectably, according to the traditions and the history that unite them," he said. "Of course, all this must be based on mutual respect and mutual recognition of each other's interests."

Earlier today, the Georgian foreign minister said one of the main goals of his visit was to discuss the possibility of arranging a meeting between the Russian and Georgian presidents.

The latest crisis in bilateral relations erupted in late September when Georgia briefly detained four Russian military officers for alleged spying. Russia responded with a sweeping transport and postal blockade on Georgia, and a crackdown on Georgian migrants living in Russia.

(Rustavi 2, RIA Novosti, AP)

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MORE: Coverage of the situation in Georgian from RFE/RL's Georgian Service and in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.


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