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Meeting highlights new visa terms between Russia and Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 6
Russia launched talks on the simplification of the visa regime between Georgia and Russia. A statement concerning the issue was made by Georgia’s special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze on March 4 after his meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Karasin several days ago.

Abashidze emphasized that talks will start regarding the facilitation of various categories of visas soon.

“We also plan to agree on an increase of the visa categories,” Abashidze said, adding that changes might be obvious even in March.

“In this case, I speak about the Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi route. I also think that regular air traffic between Georgia and Russia should be restored as soon as possible,” Abashidze said.

Statements concerning the topics of negotiations have also been made by Karasin. According to him, meetings held lately between Georgian and Russian representatives gives space for advancement in relations.

Karasin also confirmed the possibility of a falsified visa regime and the restoration of regular flights between the neighboring states.

“We managed to discuss painful issues in our relations. Both sides are interested in positive relations. Currently, we can speak on such issues that have been frozen for years,” Karasin said.

However, in his talks Karsin also underscores that “Russia will not treason Abkhazia and South Ossetia” and will not give them up at the expense of improving of relations with Georgia.

According to Russian NGO sector representative and analyst Piodor Lukianov, positive moves between the two countries are obvious. However, Russia is not expected to accuse itself in any wrongdoing and solve all the problems with Georgia in a short period.

“Based on the present situation, it is really difficult to predict what might be after some time. Searching answers on the main questions currently is not sensible. In the case the two states launch negotiations from the major problems, nothing will come out form the situation,” Lukianov said.

According to Lukianov, it will be profitable to regulate the relations if Georgian analysts prepare their assessments and statements for improving relations with Russia.

“Analysts of the Russian International Relations Institute have already taken a step and their report was worthy, as the report was neutral. In the case that Georgian analysts prepare constructive and at the same time critical reports towards Russia, the federation will welcome this,” Lukianov stated.

Georgian analysts also believe that regulations with Russia will not be settled in a day. They also share the belief that if the negotiation process was launched regarding the occupied regions, no positive moves would take place. Analysts feel that tackling economic and public relations would be the best first step with regard to regulating Georgian-Russian relations.