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Russian diplomat says early to speak about introducing visa-free travel for Georgia

February 07, 2017, 13:18 UTC+3

"We are not against the visa-free regime, but we don’t have diplomatic relations," the diplomat stressed

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PRAGUE, February 7. /TASS/. It is premature to speak about introducing a visa-free travel for Georgia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Tuesday.

"One should not expect lifting visa requirements but to work in this direction," said the diplomat, who is holding another meeting in Prague with the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze.

"We are not against the visa-free regime, but we don’t have diplomatic relations," he stressed. "We need to calmly discuss all the measures concerning security of the two countries in the framework of the respective agencies," Karasin said.

The diplomat also welcomed the decision of the European Parliament earlier this week to lift visa requirements for Georgia once a suspension mechanism allowing reintroducing visas with third countries enters into force. He voiced hope that this will help solve the issue on "unblocking" the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two breakaway republics were recognized by Russia as independent states in August 2008.

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

In December 2015, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow would ease the visa regime for Georgians from December 23, not ruling out that a mutual visa-free regime could be introduced in the future.

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