Putin: Russia-Georgia Relations Must be Normalized
    2012-12-20 17:40:36     Xinhua       Web Editor: Liu Ranran

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday Russia-Georgia relations must be normalized.

"We see positive signals from the new Georgian authorities; we respond the same way," Putin told reporters during his annual press conference here.

Meanwhile, Russia "can't retreat from the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Putin said, adding, though he so far didn't know what could be done, he believed bilateral ties should be resumed.

Georgia cut off diplomatic relations with Russia after a brief war between the two countries in August 2008 over control of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said earlier Moscow would resume contact with Tbilisi only if Georgia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway region.

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Tuesday he hoped to meet Medvedev or Putin soon, but no meeting is imminent.

It was Putin's eighth major conference as president and the first since his return to the Kremlin this May.

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