Georgia and Russia Hint at Thaw in Relations

TBILISI (Eurasianet)–Tbilisi and Moscow exchanged cautious diplomatic overtures as Georgia on December 10 welcomed the possible opening of its border with Russia and the resumption of air transportation.

Georgian presidential administration spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze told a December 10 press briefing that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is ready to open the border and to resume flights to Russia. The comments come one day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that he sees no reason to keep the door shut on Georgia. Medvedev, however, excluded the possibility of direct contact with Saakashvili.

Manjgaladze said that unlike Russia, Georgia has never embargoed Russian produce nor restricted ordinary Russian citizens from entering the country. On December 1, however, two Russian academics were denied entry at Tbilisi airport for being alleged “spies.” Tbilisi would welcome Moscow liberalizing entry to Russia for Georgian citizens and for Georgian agricultural products, she said.

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