Russia is ready to restart regular air services with Georgia, halted over the August 2008 military conflict between the two ex-Soviet republics, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.
Russia's Transportation Ministry allowed the Georgian Airways airline to run charter flights between the two capitals in early January.
"We are also ready to establish regular air services," Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
The Russian foreign minister expressed hope that the Verkhny Lars-Kazbegi border control checkpoint, the only road link between Russia and Georgia, would also be reopened from March 1. The crossing was closed in July 2006.
"I hope the border checkpoint, which has already been brought into an appropriate condition on both sides, will become operational again from March 1," Lavrov said.
The Verkhny-Lars Kazbegi border checkpoint was formally reopened last May, but the lack of diplomatic ties between Russia and Georgia means it remains for all intents and purposes non-functioning.
Lavrov also accused Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili of having deliberately attempted to ruin relations between the two neighbors.
Lavrov reiterated Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's pledge that Russia would not engage in dialogue Saakashvili, but said this did not mean Russia would avoid broader contacts with Georgia.
"We have never severed contacts between artists, figures of culture, the intelligentsia and churches. And we have no doubts that the centuries-long ties between the Russian and Georgian nations are stronger than any political moths carried here by strange winds," he said.
MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti)