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Tbilisi Protests Moscow’s Decision to Lift Visa Restrictions for Adjara
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Dec.'03 / 12:25

Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned Russia’s unilateral decision to impose simplified visa regime for Adjara Autonomous Republic as “violation of Georgia’s sovereignty.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on December 8 that “simplified visa regime will be enforced from December 9” for the population of Georgia living in Adjara.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Kakha Sikharulidze said at a special news briefing on December 9 that Russia took the decision “without any consultations with the Georgian side.”

“We were not informed regarding the decision in advance, that is inadmissible,” he added.

Georgia always was against visa regime between Russia and Georgia, taking into account that it significantly complicated the friendly relations between the two countries.

“It radically contradicted Russia’s foreign political course, implying establishment of friendly relations with neighbor countries, including Georgia,” Kakha Sikharulidze said.   

Acting Secretary of the National Security Council Jemal Gakhokidze said on December 9, that Georgia welcomes visa-free regime between Russia and Georgia, “but all the citizens of Georgia should enjoy with visa-free regime and not only the particular part of citizens living in one part of Georgia.”

It remains unclear yet what does the “simplified visa regime” mean. Russian embassy in Georgia rejected to make comments regarding the issue.  

Russia already maintains unilaterally imposed non-visa regimes with the Georgia’s breakaway Abkhaz and South Ossetian regions that also causes protest of the Georgian authorities.

Visa regime between Russia and Georgia was introduced on December 5, 2000, as Russia withdrew from the 1992 Bishkek Agreement, foreseeing visa-free relations between the former Soviet republics.

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