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Restoration of air links between Russia and Georgia brooks no delay — senator

The senator recalled that the current condition of Russian-Georgian relations was regrettable

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. The easing of visa rules in relations between Georgia and Russia, including cancellation of visas, as well as restoration of air links with that country require urgent solution, the chairman of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said at a meeting with the leader of the opposition party Democratic Movement - United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze.

"In our opinion there are some practical issues that require quick solution. For instance, the easing of Russia’s visa procedures, including the cancellation of visas, resumption of air links and settlement of issues concerning tariff restrictions on the export of some goods. In a word, there is a specific agenda that is being discussed at various levels and on different platforms," Kosachev stated.

The senator recalled that the current condition of Russian-Georgian relations was regrettable.

"But we’ve been always unanimous that our peoples expect something very different. Both the states, parties and politicians must feel society’s demand and do their utmost to ensure the relations between our countries get back onto the normal track again," he pointed out.

Kosachev believes it is very important that Burjanadze sees relations with Russia clearly among Georgia’s national interests.

"This is precisely what distinguishes our approaches. We are definitely interested in the steady, onward development of relations with Georgia," Kosachev stressed.

He thanked Burjanadze for her political and civic stance.

"We are well aware that your visits to Russia do not always draw adequate reaction in Georgia, but it is the position of a responsible politician who acts in the interests of her country. We feel great respect for this," Kosachev concluded.

Suspension of air links with Georgia

Under a presidential decree of June 21 Russian air carriers were temporarily prohibited from making flights to and from Georgia starting from July 8. On the same day Russia’s Transport Ministry suspended Georgian air carriers’ flights to Russia under its decision of June 22. The sanctions followed an anti-Russian rally by several thousand people in front of the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi. The police dispersed the crowd.

The clashes occurred after a row over the participation of Russian State Duma member Sergei Gavrilov and other Russian delegates in the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, which the host organized inside the Georgian parliament’s building. Angry members of the opposition forced their way into the hall and upset the meeting.