Simpler Customs Controls on Georgian Borders

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili

TBILISI (Combined Sources)—Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said that Georgia must try to simplify border traffic not only with Turkey, but also with other countries in the region such as Armenia and Azerbaijan. He believes that the customs regime with these countries should be similar to the regime with Turkey.

“We are facing a difficult negotiation, but I already have an agreement with the Armenia. We must work with the Azerbaijan to implement the integration of our systems to ensure that our citizens are not burdened and their travel and shipping needs are facilitated,” said Saakashvili said, adding that this measure will benefit economic development in the region.

He noted the successful border regime with Turkey. “We must adopt a system like Europe and other countries. There must be one single checkpoint based on the principle of ‘one window’ and cars may travel without obstacles,” added Georgian president.

At the same time, the Saakashvili protested the behavior of Georgian customs officers who often humiliate Georgian citizens and foreigners by checking their personal possessions. Saakashvili pointed out that in other countries, such extreme baggage check is only done when there is reasonable suspicion.

“For example, a group of Spanish tourists recently arrived in Georgia, but today I can tell you that they will no longer come to our country, as they were unduly inspected and harassed,” he added.

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