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Russia, Georgia to discuss liberalization of visa regime

March 10, 2016, 10:45 UTC+3 TBILISI

Earlier President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Ministry noted the possibility of cancelling the visa regime for Georgia

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© Zurab Dzhavakhadze/TASS

TBILISI, March 10. /TASS/. Further simplification of the visa regime by Russia for Georgia will be among the issues discussed at a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Georgian envoy for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze in Prague on March 16, Abashidze told reporters on Thursday.

He did not rule out that "during the current year Russia could cancel the visa regime for Georgia," as President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier.

Putin noted during his annual question-and-answer session on December 17, 2015, that Moscow was ready to cancel the visa regime for Georgia. "As for the visa regime, yes, I think we are ready to cancel it," he said.

On December 22, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia was easing the visa regime for Georgian citizens and did not rule out the possibility of introducing a reciprocal visa-free regime. The ministry noted that "the Russian side was determined to take steps aimed at easing the communication conditions of the two countries’ citizens, not ruling out the introduction of a visa-free regime in the future on the basis of reciprocity."

The visa regime between Russia and Georgia was imposed in 2000. In 2004, Georgia unilaterally simplified it for Russian nationals. On March 1, 2012, Tbilisi cancelled the visa regime for all Russian citizens.

Karasin and Abashidze have held 11 meetings since December 2012, 10 of them took place in Prague. The last round of their dialogue was held on November 19, 2015.

On November 20, the press service of Georgia’s government said that "the latest Prague meeting resulted in concrete agreements, in particular expanding the list of Georgian products presented in the Russian market and increasing haulage capacity.".

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