Georgia's and Russia's state commission set up to draw up a new framework treaty between the two countries had their first working meeting in the Georgian capital on Friday. In 1994, Moscow and Tbilisi signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation which, however, did not come into force after the Russian parliament declined to ratify it. Russia and Georgia have prepared their own drafts of a new treaty for these negotiations. Work on the treaty was stepped up after the presidents of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Eduard Shevardnadze, met in late November in Moscow. According to the head of the Russian commission, State Duma deputy Boris Pastukhov, the meeting created a "favourable atmosphere" for the work on the new treaty, as it demonstrated both parties' "firm resolve to look for and find solutions to difficult problems in relations between the two countries." According to preliminary information, the negotiations of the two delegations will be concluded on Saturday.
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