TBILISI, October 18. /TASS/. Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Georgia’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze will meet on October 19 in Prague to discuss bilateral trade, economics, transport and cultural cooperation, Abashidze told reporters on Tuesday before leaving for the Czech capital.
He did not rule out that "an additional easing in the visa regime for Georgia will also be discussed" in Prague. "In January 2016, Russia significantly eased the visa regime for Georgian citizens, a while ago Russia has made some statements on the further easing of the regime," Abashidze said, noting that both countries’ representatives from their foreign and economic ministries would take part in the Prague meeting.
In November 2012, then Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had set up the post of the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia and appointed the country’s former ambassador to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, to this post. On December 14, 2012, the first meeting between Abashidze and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin took place in Geneva, and in 2013-2016 they have been meeting in Prague, with the latest meeting being held this past June. These meetings constitute the first example of a direct dialogue between the two countries’ officials since 2008. Russian and Georgian authorities have repeatedly stated that the meetings in the ‘Abashidze-Karasin’ format "have produced some positive results.".