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Foreign Ministry acknowledges drawbacks in visa regime

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, February 17
The Press Speaker of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry Davit Kereselidze acknowledged drawbacks in the visa regulation system.

His briefing came after former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s negative assessments with regard to the new visa regulations.

Ivanishvili stressed that the restrictions caused a delay in the country’s economic advancement.

“We have faced some problems, but the working process concerning the visa rules is still ongoing. We are in the process of finding gaps and improving them. For instance, we have already introduced an electronic visa portal to create an easy visa-related process for foreigners,” stated Kereselidze.

Former Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze responded to Ivanishvili’s accusations. She stressed that various failures in the field were not because of the Foreign Ministry.

According to Panjikidze, several structures are responsible for the amendments in the visa regime. She informed that the head of the team which was working on the new visa rules was Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani.

“The former Prime Minister’s approach to the issue is incorrect. Georgia had a visa-free regime with more than 120 countries. That was the key reason why the government decided to refresh the field in accordance to the appeal of the European Union. We launched the visa liberation process when Ivanishvili was still the prime minister, that means he had information regarding the planned amendments,” stated Panjikidze.

Panjikidze added that if Ivanishvili has questions, he must address them to Tsulukiani.

“The responsibility for those gaps lies on the commission, which was working on the visa liberation process,” the former official asserted.

Panjikidze said that the foreign ministry under her leadership agreed to the amendments with the country’s economic team and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“We discussed each topic that concerned state security and economic field,” she said.