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Russia May Facilitate Visa Regime for Georgian Citizens

This issue will be discussed during the meeting of Georgian prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russia’s deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin Nov.19 in Prague.

“The Russian side hinted that it is going to facilitate the visa regime for our citizens,” Abashidze told reporters Nov.18. “We will listen to them and will see what they mean.”

Russia introduced a visa regime with Georgia in December 2000, due to the threat of intrusion into its territory of terrorists from the Pankisi Gorge (valley region in Georgia).

However, later, Moscow significantly liberalized the visa issuing procedure for Georgian citizens. Georgia cancelled the visa regime for Russian citizens Feb.29, 2012.

Tbilisi broke off diplomatic relations with Russia after the latter recognized the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali region) in August of 2008.

Representatives of Georgia’s new government stated that normalization of relations with Russia is one of the top priorities of the country’s foreign policy, adding that this process shouldn’t be to the detriment of the principle of Georgia’s territorial integrity.