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Georgia hopes Russia eases or lifts visa requirements

Georgia will welcome abolishment or easier visa requirements for its citizens travelling to Russia, Georgian prime minister's envoy on relations with the Russian Federation Zurab Abashidze told reporters on Friday.

"The issue of Russia's possible lifting the visa regime will be on agenda of the meeting with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, due in Prague in late February," he said. "We shall listen to the position of the Russian side on the issue, if the Russian Federation makes the step and decides to lift the visa regime with Georgia or to ease the requirements, we shall welcome the step of the kind."

"Georgia in its turn long ago lifted the visa regime for Russian citizens (from March 1, 2012)," Abashidze said.

The upcoming meeting in Prague "will discuss issues of further development of trade and economic cooperation, contacts in the cultural and humanitarian spheres, and the topic of transport communications," he said.

In late December, 2013 President Georgy Margvelashvili said a direct Georgian-Russian dialogue "in the format of Abashidze-Karasin meetings has not been exhausted and will continue." Those contacts "can offer a high level of trust between the two countries and a background for future settling of major issues."

The first meeting between Abashidze and Karasin took place on December 14, 2012 near Geneva, and four following meetings were organized in Prague. The Abashidze-Karasin talks are the first direct dialogue between the two countries' officials after 2008.

[Source: Itar Tass, Tbilisi, 10Jan14]

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