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Georgia’s Foreign Ministry says it has no negotiations with Russia over visa issues

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 29
Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it is not holding any negotiations with Russia’s official state bodies over visa-related issues.

The Georgian body made the statement in response to the resent assertions of the Chairman of the Federation Council of Russia, Valentina Matviyenko.

The Russian official stated that since Russia announced its intent to ease visa-rules for Georgians on December 22, the two countries’ Foreign Ministries were holding dialogues regarding the procedural issues.

She also hoped that after the simplification of the visas, Russia would introduce visa-free travel for Georgian citizens from the next year.

“Georgia has no diplomatic relations with Russia after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008 and, consequently, no such dialogue could take place. The visa issue was discussed in the Abashidze-Karasin format,” Georgia’s Foreign Ministry responded.

The Abashidze-Karasin format involves scheduled meetings between Georgia’s and Russia’s Special Envoys - Zurab Abashidze and Grigory Karasin - at least twice a year. The Format was introduced by the current Government of Georgia and is focused on trade-economic issues and aims to normalise relations with Russia.

On December 22, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement that said from the next day - December 23 - all Georgian citizens could enjoy simplified visa procedures with Russia.

After the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, Georgian citizens were only awarded a visa to travel to Russia if they had been invited by very close relatives.

Georgia’s former government annulled visas for Russian tourists in 2011, though Russia did not reciprocate, and maintained its complicated procedures until now.

The fact that the two countries’ foreign ministries are not holding negotiations over the visa topic was also confirmed by Abashidze, who reiterated that due to the absence of diplomatic relations, such talks were excluded for the time being.