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Georgia-Russia: visa service to be resumed2009-03-04 17:14
On March 5 Georgia and Russia will resume visa issuance with Switzerland acting as an intermediary between the two states.
The sections of Russian and Georgian interests with the Embassies of Switzerland in Tbilisi and Moscow will be opened simultaneously. "We resume performance of diplomatic and consular functions", - RIA Novosti is quoting Igor Lyakin-Frolov, deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry press service.
Before that Georgian and Russian diplomats will exchange official notes with Swiss diplomats. This procedure will signalize the start of operation of the sections.
It is already known there must be humanitarian motives to obtain a Russian visa. As stated to Interfax by Georgian Consul in Russia Zurab Pataradze: "At the first stage the visas will be issued to Georgian citizens on the basis of private invitations from family members and close relatives living in Russia. No work or tourist visas will be issued." According to him Georgian visas will be issued without limitations.
As is known the official breakdown of diplomatic ties between Russia and Georgia happened in early September 2008 on the initiative of Tbilisi and was directly connected with the August events. "Georgia will have no more diplomatic representations in Russia", - Grigol Vashadze, Georgian Foreign Minister stated then in his interview with ITAR-TASS. Only consular relations between two countries were maintained. "Consulates in the territories of both countries must continue their operation due to a significant number of Georgians living in Russia and Russians living in Georgia", - the minister summed up.
However a while later visa issuance by both countries faced serious problems. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry representative under conditions when Embassies of two countries are considered officially closed it became "legally impossible to solve many issues including consular and humanitarian ones".
Under these circumstances the Russian side called on Switzerland to represent Moscow's interests in Tbilisi. Shortly after Georgia did the same: and Bern undertook the role of an intermediary.
Well, half a year later this diplomatic channel between Russia and Georgia started working. It was an anticipated event. According to Rosbalt now there is quite a long queue at the doors of the Russian consulate in Tbilisi. Mainly there are people whose children and parents live in Russia.
They can go to see their relatives by plane via Yerevan.