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Russian Foreign Minister on Relations with Georgia, Lugar Lab

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke on Moscow’s relations with Georgia in a radio interview with Moscow-based Komsomolskaya Pravda on December 17.

Asked whether it was reasonable to cut ties with Georgia considering its continuing military integration with NATO, Sergey Lavrov said he is “categorically” against it.

The Minister said trade volumes and people-to-people relations have been increasing in recent years: “people meet and talk, they try to understand where we stand now.”

“Imagine if we cut the ties that we have been building for the last few years… the base will still be built (Editor’s note: apparently referring to the U.S.-funded airfield construction plans in Vaziani), the battalions will still be trained, and the bio labs will still be running,” he added.

Lavrov then said Tbilisi “will not dare to enter anywhere with its battalions.” “They understand well that we have allied relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and we will not let anyone attack our allies,” he added.

The Foreign Minister also said “the most serious issue” remaining between the two countries is the Lugar Lab, a Tbilisi-based biological research facility that has become a target of Russia’s recent bio-warfare allegations.

Lavrov said Moscow thanked Tbilisi for inviting its diplomats to the peer review exercise in November, but declined the invitation.

“We communicated that this was not about diplomats, but rather professionals who need to be able to understand what is being done in the bio lab, and how much danger as a whole these experiments pose to Russia and the neighboring states,” he noted.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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