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Russian tourists should continue to come to Georgia - President of Georgia

"Politicians should solve problems", Salome Zourabichvili said
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili EPA-EFE/TOMS KALNINS
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili

TBILISI, June 23 /TASS/. Tourists from Russia should continue to come to Georgia, because they love this country, while politicians should solve problems, Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said in an interview with Euronews.

"Tourists should continue to come, because they love Georgia, and politicians must solve the problems, which are in the core of the incident. Solving this issue implies uniting the territories of Georgia and, in spite of everything, this should not affect tourists, the population and the peaceful environment Georgia has," she said.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree which temporarily bans flight connection with Georgia from July 8. Tour operators and travel agencies were recommended "for the duration of the ban <...> to refrain from selling tourist products that include transportation of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia."

Tbilisi developments

On June 20, several thousand protesters gathered near the building of the national parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm it. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, 305 protesters were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.

The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On Thursday morning, IAO President Sergei Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue.

Later, a decision was taken to wrap up the session and for the Russian delegation to leave the country. Members of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia’ party said that they did not know that Gavrilov had been scheduled to open the event, claiming that the protocol office had made a mistake.

Secretary General of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia’ party and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced on Friday that Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze had decided to resign.