“We hope that this agreement will give a strong impetus to trade in the region,” he said.
Commenting on the difficulties in the international trade between the two countries after the war in 2008, the diplomat recalled that there was uncertainty about where Georgia’s customs borders had been crossed as the country does not recognize the two new states (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) created in its former territories.
“The agreement signed in 2011 shed light on this issue in particular. We will soon try to finish domestic procedures so that we can sign important documents in the coming months. That’s when the agreement will begin to work,” he added.
Asked if Armenia is going to be the main beneficiary of this agreement and if Moscow is willing to do so at Armenia’s request, Karasin gave the following answer: "There is indeed a request from Armenia. However, we’re talking about a bilateral agreement signed between Russia and Georgia through Swiss mediation. This agreement does not impose obligations on third countries, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
The Georgian government earlier signed a contract with the Swiss company SGS to transport cargoes to Russia through its territory, and, if needed, through the uncontrolled Zhinvali region. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that in case of an emergency at the Kazbegi-Yukhari Lars customs checkpoint, the cargo would be transported via the specified route.
"No item of this contract has been directed against Georgia's interests. The issue is, if a force majeure—such as heavy snow or landslide—occurs at the Yukhari Lars customs checkpoint, the route in the direction of Zhinvali can be used. This corridor can be used by other countries, by Turkey and Armenia, as well as other countries benefiting from our country’s transit potential. However, this is still a unilateral signing. We continue negotiating, because there are some conditions put forward by Russia that are unacceptable to us," Kvirikashvili said in his speech at the Georgian parliament.