Russia Opens Border to Adjara Upsetting Georgia

TBILISI (Itar-Tass/Yerkir)–Georgian Ambassador to Russia Zurab Abashidze–called the Russian Foreign Ministry’s decision to temporarily relax visa requiremen’s for Georgian citizens residing in Adjara to enter and leave Russia–as being "discordant and unilateral." The decision went into effect on December 9.

Adjara is an autonomous republic of southwest Georgia bordering on the Black Sea and Turkey.

The ambassador said in an interview with Rustavi-2 TV Company on Tuesday that he would "welcome the simplification of the visa regime for the residents of all regions of the country." He–however–considers it "unacceptable to make unilateral and discordant decisions concerning separate regions."

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded saying the decision is based on Russia’s desire to gradually simplify its visa requiremen’s with Georgia–taking into account the "humanitarian side" of the issue. Commenting on the issue–presidential candidate Mikhail Saakashvili said–"We want good relations with Russia–and if Russia wants the same–it should not attempt dividing Georgia into different regions."

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