Karasin: Russia ready to work with Georgia on visa liberalization
Russia remains open for work with Georgia on visa liberalization and expects positive shifts on the issue in 2017, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said.
"President Vladimir Putin made it clear that the possibility of introducing a visa-free regime with Georgia was not excluded. We remain open to joint comprehensive work with the Georgian authorities on these issues," Sputnik cited Karasin as saying.
He said that Russia had significantly liberalized the visa regime with Georgia in December 2015. "Today the rules imply that each Georgian citizen may visit our country on the invitation of each Russian citizen, organization or a foreigner permanently living [in Russia] without any restrictions. And we are glad to state that during this year the number of visas issued by our Interests Section in Tbilisi had almost doubled … I have no doubts that positive tendencies will be boosted in 2017," Karasin said.
He also said that is was a common practice for countries popular with tourists such as Georgia to establish visa-free regimes with other states, referring to Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze’s statement that the country introduced a visa-free regime for Russians.
"However, in the modern world where terrorist and other threats are significantly growing, the ‘tourist countries,’ of course, cannot expect an ‘automatic’ reciprocation in visa issues," Karasin added.