Former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said he hopes Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili will be released from the Tskhinvali custody soon.
Karasin spoke with Georgian journalists after meeting with Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze in Prague on Thursday.
Of course, I was aware of the issue. We had communication with Georgian and Ossetian sides on various levels. We hope this issue will be resolved in the shortest period of time”, Karasin said.
He further noted the importance of the Geneva International Discussions (GIDs) and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in this regard.
Informal trade and economic talks between Georgia and Russia, also known as the Abashidze-Karasin meetings, represent the only direct format of communication since the two countries suspended diplomatic ties in 2008 after the Russia-Georgia war.
Although the format of the meetings is not meant to be political, Abashidze usually raises the situation in Georgia’s Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) as well. Photo: 1TV
Abashidze said after the meeting that he spoke of the grave humanitarian situation along the occupation line, as well as the country and region as a whole.
However, he paid particular attention to the Georgian doctor’s illegal detention in occupied Tskhinvali.
As Russia considers Tskhinvali “an independent state” Karasin told him that the latter can make its own decisions independently.
You know our attitude. There is a total difference in [our] positions. I did not intend to go deep into this dialogue. We said that Vazha Gaprindashvili should be released and there is no time for further discussions”, Abashidze said.
Gaprindashvili was abducted by occupation forces near the Russian-controlled Tskhinvali region on November 9 and has been sentenced to two-month pretrial detention for “deliberately crossing the border”, which he reportedly denies.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) paid the second visit to doctor Gaprindashvili in Tskhinvali jail and gave him a letter sent by his family.
Representative of ICRC in Tbilisi Maia Kardava reported later that the Georgian doctor said he feels normal.