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Georgian Envoy, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Meet in Prague

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, February 2
(PRAGUE)—Georgian Prime Minister's Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin held another regular meeting in Prague, Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Georgian Government’s Administration reports that despite the fact,Prague's format does not envisage discussing security and occupation-related issues. Zurab Abashidze stressed on the recent developments in Georgia’s occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) and expressed his concern over the grave situation at the occupation line.

In particular, Georgian envoy tackled upon the unification of illegal armed groups of the Tskhinvali region into the composition of the Russian Armed Forces and ratification of the so called military deal by the Russian State Duma in late January.

Abashidze also raised the issue of opening “customs points” in occupied Akhalgori, South Ossetia on January 28.

The sides discussed trade-economic relations between the two countries, including the implementation of the 2011 agreement on the mechanism of customs administration and the monitoring of regional trade.

“Zurab Abashidze highlighted the 2011 Agreement can be realized only with the full respect for its principles and provisions without any interpretations and politicization,” the governmental administration of Georgia stated.

The parties noted the tendency of growth of trade turnover observed in 2017, adding similar dynamics were observed in transportation and tourism spheres as well. There was a discussion on the prospects of 2018 and the ways to solve specific problems in the future.

The Abashidze-Karasin meetings are the only form of official relations with Russia established in 2012 in Geneva after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, when Georgia cut diplomatic ties with its northern neighbor.

The meeting format was created for trade-economic relations and is held at least twice a year.

In December 2000, Russia introduced a visa regime with Georgia and in 2006, it carried out mass deportation of Georgians from 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 maintained its complicated procedures until last year, when the visa regime was simplified.

Since 2013, the meetings of Georgian and Russian representatives have been held in Prague.

The date of the next Abashidze-Karasin meeting is not known yet.