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Russia might facilitate visas for certain categories of Georgians

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, November 23
Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin in Prague several days ago.

It has been mentioned that Russia might facilitate visas for Georgians and that the relevant bodies of the country were discussing the issues. Georgia’s Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Davit Bakradze, confirmed the discussion of the issue by the Russian side and stressed that the case concerned the facilitation and not the imposition of visa-free travel for Georgians.

At the beginning of the bilateral meeting, Abashidze highlighted the situation near and in the occupied Tskhinvali region and stressed that the “systemic kidnapping of Georgian citizens by Russian soldiers, restrictions imposed in terms of the Georgian language in the mainly Georgian-populated Gali district currently occupied by Russians and the erection of barbed –wire barriers on Georgian soil could only create threats for Georgian and regional security”.

“It was emphasised that these actions violated the internationally-acknowledged principles of sovereignty and fundamental human rights,” the Georgian Government’s webpage announced.

On this note, the Government’s Press Service added that the Georgian side would use all currently-available levers to inform the international community over such unacceptable incidents.

On another note, concerning the transport-trade-economic sphere, several positive achievements have been voiced.

In particular, it has been agreed that the number of products exported to Russia from Georgia will increase and shipping between the two nations would also become more intensive.

It has also been mentioned that the Russian side was discussing the simplification of issuing Russian visas to certain categories of Georgian citizens, as Russia imposed a unilateral visa regime with Georgia after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008.

In terms of humanitarian issues, it has been announced that Georgian citizens serving sentences in Russia under espionage-related charges might be extradited to Georgia.

The date of the next meeting between Abashidze-Karasin has yet to be scheduled.