Friday, July 20, 2007, #137 (1404)

Russian Visas for Georgians Available Again
By Christina Tashkevich

The Russian embassy in Georgia announced Thursday that it will resume issuing visas for study, business, work or transit.

“It’s the Russian side’s wish to move in the direction of stabilization of Russian–Georgian relations,” the embassy’s press release said.

At the same time, the embassy expressed hope that Tbilisi would also take some “constructive steps” to improve relations between the two countries.

Head of the parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee Kote Gabashvili welcomed the decision.

Gabashvili told Georgian media that businessmen now can get Russian visas, which will improve economic relations between the neighbors. He said he hoped air links between Georgia and Russia would also be reinstated soon.

The Russian embassy in Tbilisi stopped issuing visas to Georgians after the spy row last October, when authorities here arrested several Russian military officers on espionage accusations. Russia also cut air, sea, railway and postal connections with Georgia.
In late May, Russia began to again issue visas to Georgians with family members in Russia or with Russian citizenship.

Georgian citizens with temporary residence rights in Russia would also be given visas, the embassy said in May.

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