14.06.2013 (Hvino News) The Georgian Foreign Ministry expects progress on the issue of simplifying the visa regime with Russia, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said at a press conference held on June 11. According to Panjikidze, the government already has credible information that such progress will be reached.
"We already have some progress in terms of exports to the Russian market. Information saying that 1 million bottles of wine have already been sent to Russia was released today. This will bring a considerable profit for those who produce wine," Panjikidze said.
Georgia and Russia have maintained no diplomatic relations since a brief war in 2008. Tbilisi broke off relations with Moscow in August 2008 when Moscow crushed a Georgian assault to reassert control over the two rebel regions - South Ossetia and Abkhazia - and later recognized the breakaway regions. Georgia announced the two unrecognized republics as occupied territories in September 2008. As for the restoration of diplomatic relations, Panjikidze says it will happen only after Russian troops withdraw from the country. "I would also like to note that during my multilateral meetings, our Western partners constantly express positive attitude in connection with the start of a dialogue," the minister said.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia wants to restore relations with Georgia "in full scale". "We want to cooperate, want to work with Georgia, want to restore relations fully," Putin said. He noted that if this could be done with regard to law enforcement agencies and special services, that would be the first step toward restoring a visa-free regime.
Putin further said that Russia will continue developing its relations with Georgia, including in the area of the access of Georgian goods to the territory of the Russian Federation.
"We made a decision to allow Georgian goods to the Russian market. We understand that this is important. This may not be the key issue, but it is important for Georgia, for its economy. We will continue to act in this direction," Putin said.
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