Tbilisi said an agreement had been reached with Moscow to resume road freight transport by Georgian and Russian cargo carriers between the two countries, suspended in 2006.
The Georgian Economy Ministry said in a statement on August 15 that the agreement was reached during the talks between officials from the Georgian Land Transport Agency and the Russian Transport Ministry, held in Moscow on August 6-7.
It said that talks were held in presence of Moscow-based Swiss diplomats; Switzerland acts as a mediator between Russia and Georgia since the two countries cut off diplomatic relations after the August 2008 war.
“Because provisions, envisaged by agreement between the relevant state agencies of the two countries in the sphere of transportation by vehicles, have been suspended, mainly Azerbaijani, Turkish and Armenian carriers are involved in freight transportation between Georgia and Russia,” the Georgian Economy Ministry said.
According to the ministry, during the talks in Moscow the sides noted the need to focus on measures, which would allow Georgian and Russian cargo carriers to tap into potential increase in bilateral trade.
After resumption of export of wines and mineral waters to Russia, Georgia now seeks to also resume export of fruits and other agriculture products to northern neighbor. A delegation from Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) is currently paying a week-long visit to Georgia.
The Georgian Economy Ministry said that “at the first stage” an agreement was reached to issue 500 permits from each side on freight transportation, “which will allow the Georgian carriers to transfer cargo to and via Russia.”
It said that during the talks the Georgian side raised the need for easing Russian visa rules for Georgian truck drivers. “There is consent from the Russian side to solve this issue positively,” the Georgian Economy Ministry said.
An agreement has also been reached to resume a regular bus service between the cities of the two countries, which were suspended in 2006, according to the Georgian Economy Ministry.