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Abkhazia calls Tbilisi’s statements on visa waive benefits 'bait'

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 6
Abkhazia’s foreign ministry issued a statement where it called a statement by Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze - who said that from now on, all Georgian citizens, including those living in occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali can benefit with the Georgia-EU visa waiver - 'bait'.

"The Abkhaz Foreign Ministry deems it necessary to underline that the European Parliament's decision may be applied only to the citizens of Georgia and not to the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia," says the statement of the so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia.

"We regard Janelidze’s statement as a rude attempt to involve the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia in the political and legal space of Georgia. It is obvious that after a complete failure of the idea of the so-called neutral passports, the Georgian government decided to use another type of bait in the form of visa liberalization for citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia. It is clear that the Georgian government's attempt will fail," the statement reads.

The de-facto Foreign Ministry states that the Georgian government's attempt to use the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia for political manipulation “has no prospect”.

“If the Georgian government is genuinely concerned about the freedom of movement of the citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia, they must reject the policy of international isolation of our citizens, who are refused to enter the European Union,” the statement reads.

Georgia’s State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Victor Dolidze, says he could see Russian President Putin’s occupant regime behind the de facto Foreign Ministry’s statement.

"I heard the statement. It is not their position; it's a proposal of the occupant regime,” Dolidze stated, adding that his position was the same as voiced by Janelidze.

With 553 votes in favour, 66 against and 28 abstaining, the European Parliament (EP) approved visa-free travel for Georgian citizens.

The 26 Schengen Area countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Holders of Georgian biometric passports will now be able to enter the Schengen Area for 90 days within any 180-day period for holiday, business and other purposes except for that of working.