MOSCOW, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday his government awaits regime change before it resumes relations with nearby Georgia.
Speaking at a meeting of journalism faculty at Moscow State University, he said "we are absolutely ready to restore diplomatic relations with Georgia," but not with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reported.
"I won't be either meeting with him or shaking his hand," Medvedev said. "As far as the Georgian people are concerned I would like this phase of alienation to be over."
The countries remain on non-speaking terms since Russia recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, which border Russia, forcing a "legal limbo" and a refusal to "recognize the democratically elected government of Georgia," Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said, although plane flights between the neighboring countries have been restored.