TBILISI, February 29 (Itar-Tass) — Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister David Dzhalaganiya called the introduction of the visa-free travel for Russian citizensto be "logical and natural."
"At one point /before December 2000 - eds Itar-Tass/ Georgia and Russia had visa-free travel. The introduction of visas was not Georgia's initiative, so returning to the visa-free travel is logical and natural," Dzhalaganiya told reporters here on Wednesday.
The introduction of visa-free travel for Russian citizens will require proper technical support and preparation, he noted. The diplomat did not specify when visa-free travel for Russian might become effective.
Dzhalaganiya expressed the hope that "Russians will take this move in an appropriate manner."
Earlier this week, the Georgian president brought forward the initiative to "unilaterally cancel the visa regime for Russian citizens."
"Let every Russian citizen know that s/he can visit Georgia without a visa, engage in business here, vacation at our resorts, visit relatives, friends, etc.," the president said.
Russia introduced visa regime with Georgia in 2000, and Georgia retaliated with the same measure. In 2004, Georgia unilaterally simplified the visa regime for Russians, who could travel and stay in the country with one- to three-month visas.
Since October 2010, Russian citizens - residents of the North Caucasian republics - have been able to enter Georgia through the Kazbegi checkpoint without visas and stay there up to 90 days.
Georgia's latest move is to make visa-free travel to Georgia available to all Russians.
According to preliminary reports, visa-free travel for Russians will be introduced from March or April 2012.