The question of abolishing the visa regime for citizens of Georgia is connected with the establishment of full cooperation between Russian and Georgian law enforcement agencies. Such cooperation is hampered by the lack of diplomatic relations between two countries – Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, said in Munich on February 19.
Speaking on the abolition of visas for citizens of Georgia, it will be possible only after the establishment of diplomatic relations and enhancing security in the region, declared Lavrov. Diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia were interrupted in August 2008, according to the decision of Tbilisi, in response to Moscow’s recognition of independence of occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia).
“For better relations between Russia and Georgia as a whole, our representatives – Karasin and Abashidze – recently met again … we are satisfied that the relationship begins to return to normal, we are increasing trade … we build and expand the geography of air communication” – RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov’s statement.
According to Lavrov, Russia and Georgia significantly liberalized visa policy.
“Regarding a Visa-free regime, as I said – it is a complex issue, it is associated not only with the absence of diplomatic relations, but also with the need to provide security in those circumstances, when not only Central Asia, but also the Caucasus, all the roads of the South Caucasus, are actively used by the militants, extremists, terrorists and drug traffickers, “- said the Russian minister.
He noted that when the full cooperation is established between the Russian and Georgian law-enforcement bodies, “when all of these risks can be prevented as much as possible on both sides, then perhaps we can talk about further easing the visa regime.”
“But such cooperation between law enforcement agencies is certainly difficult to establish in the absence of diplomatic relations,” – concluded Lavrov.
Currently, Russians can visit Georgia without a visa. Georgians need a visa and a private or business invitation to visit neighboring Russia.