In response to a question by the President of Georgia, Vladimir Putin explained in detail the substance of the decisions taken by the Russian Federation to withdraw from the CIS regime of sanctions against Abkhazia, as well as the orders to the government on cooperation with the authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in trade, economic, social, scientific and technological spheres, and in the fields of information, culture and education in order to ensure the full protection of the legitimate interests of Russian citizens who live in these territories.
It was stressed that the international community has long discussed the socio-economic rehabilitation of the conflict areas. In particular, the latest UN Security Council resolution (№ 1808 on 15.04.2008) speaks directly of the urgent need for the economic development of Abkhazia. At the same time, Vladimir Putin noted that the steps taken by Russia meet all legal requirements and are confined to social and economic matters in principle, which distinguishes them from the political and unlawful decisions of a number of countries that have chosen to recognise the unilateral proclamation of independence for Kosovo. As has been repeatedly pointed out, this creates an important precedent.
The President of Russia expressed the hope that the Georgian side will also take practical steps to reduce social hardship and facilitate the economic development of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
In discussing the incident of the unmanned Georgian aircraft, the Russian President expressed his surprise with the very fact that the Georgian side is conducting military flights over the zone of conflict. President Putin stressed that this is contrary to the spirit and meaning of the Moscow agreements on a ceasefire and separation of forces from 14 May 1994, and acts as a destabilising factor that has lead to an escalation of tensions.
Describing steps to lift restrictions in Russian-Georgian relations (with respect to visas, the Verkhny Lars border crossing and the problems of allowing Georgian products access to the Russian market), Vladimir Putin expressed his intention to continue working in order to give positive momentum to the countries’ bilateral relations.
The conversation took place at the initiative of the Georgian side.