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Georgian Dream supports government position on Russia relations

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 6
Newly-minted opposition party, Georgian Dream, has welcomed President Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to extend a visa-free regime to Russia. However, they maintain that the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia is unacceptable until Georgian demands are met.

“Until 20% of our territories are [no longer] occupied by Russians, such a possibility does not exist,” Maia Panjikidze, Georgian Dream spokesperson, announced at a press conference Monday.

As for the unilateral decision to end the visa regime, she noted that this development is a positive one for Georgians living in Russia, and for those Georgians with relatives in that country.

Panjikidze also commented on the sale of Georgian Dream leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s, businesses in Russia, saying that there are two or three interested buyers but that an official announcement may not be made until April.

During his annual report to Parliament on February 28, President Saakashvili announced that Georgia would unilaterally remove the visa requirement for citizens of the Russian Federation, in order to promote peace.

“Let every Russian businessman know that they can come to Georgia, invest in Georgia, make business in Georgia, employ people in Georgia and they will be protected here like any other representative of other countries… Let Russian tourists know that they may arrive here at any time,” he said.