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MOSCOW, March 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow offers Tbilisi to restore diplomatic relations and to enact visa-free travel for Georgian citizens, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Friday.
“We are adherent to the strengthening of relations between the people of Russia and Georgia. We are ready for visa-free travel on reciprocal terms. That will require Georgia to meet legal conditions, which would guarantee security of Russians visiting Georgia. We also propose to restore bilateral diplomatic relations,” he said.
“The following remark has to be made” on the Georgian visa-free travel initiative, Lukashevich said. “When Mikhail Saakashvili cordially invited Russians to Georgia and offered them the most convenient ambience he knew about Georgian laws, which automatically made some Russian citizens felons as soon as they arrived. Those laws apply to anyone, who has been to Abkhazia or South Ossetia in recent years.”
“Any person vacationing in Sochi, who spent several hours on a tour to the Abkhaz Lake Ritsa, is a criminal by the Georgian law “On the Occupied Territories” and must be imprisoned from two to four years or fined. Some of our citizens have been punished that way,” Lukashevich said.
“It is necessary to keep in mind that our ability to grant consular and legal support to our citizens, who find themselves in trouble in Georgia, is very limited due to the breakup of diplomatic relations with Georgia,” he said.