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Residents of Georgia’s occupied regions should benefit from visa-liberalization

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 30
Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, stated that after the completion of technical procedures Georgia will enjoy a visa free regime with the European Union (EU), the benefits of which should also affect the populations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“When visa-liberalization is available for citizens of Georgia, we will also have to offer it to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” she said.

The Minister added that one of the priorities of the government was to offer residents of the breakaway regions all state services and benefits which Georgia receives through cooperation with the EU and other partner states.

“I think visa-liberalization will be a good benefit for the population of Georgia’s occupied regions, who are facing many challenges there. Besides visa free travel to the EU, we are going to offer them such benefits as better healthcare, education and future prospects,” stressed Tsikhelashvili.

The visa-free regime between Georgia and the EU will go into force as soon as the suspension mechanism is activated.

Some EU officials stated that Georgia would receive visa-liberalization by April 2017. However, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry says it is not possible to specify the exact date yet.

When the process is complete, Georgian citizens will be able to enter the EU visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period in 22 EU countries, 4 non-EU countries and 4 Schengen zone candidate countries.