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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 14:20 GMT
Georgia seeks rapport with Moscow
Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili. File photo
Mr Bezhuashvili said he was ready for compromise solutions
Georgia's foreign minister has arrived in Moscow for the first high-level talks with Russia since a crisis erupted between the two nations.

Gela Bezhuashvili said he would urge Moscow to lift sanctions imposed after Georgia expelled four Russian officers for alleged spying in September.

He told the BBC that he wanted Moscow to be a partner to its neighbours, rather than bullying them.

But he said he was optimistic, and "all these difficulties are surmountable".

Moscow has cut transport links and deported hundreds of Georgian citizens in its response to the arrest and expulsion of four Russian military intelligence officers.

'Not anti-Russian'

Mr Bezhuashvili told the BBC's Matthew Collin in the Georgian capital Tbilisi that he wanted dialogue and was ready for compromise, but called on Russia to use persuasion rather than threats to strengthen its influence in the region.

He said he was going to Moscow to explain that the Georgian government might be pro-Western, but it was not anti-Russian.

He argued that Russian interests would be better served by having a good relationship with a stable neighbour.

"What kind of Georgia would you like to see on your borders? From my point of view, Russia should see a united, strong, democratic, transparent, predictable Georgia," Mr Bezhuashvili said.

"It's a benefit for Russia to have such a neighbour, rather than weak, disintegrated and the source of all kinds of problems."

Georgia's international allies, including the US, have urged it to calm the tensions with Russia.

Mr Bezhuashvili said there had been enough aggression and hatred between the two governments.

He suggested that Russia could show leadership by helping to resolve the conflicts in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, rather than - as Tbilisi believes - manipulating them to undermine the country.

But the foreign minister warned that if Russia's intention was to weaken Georgia and make it disintegrate, he could not see the possibility of a partnership between the two countries.

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