Russia lifts postal, visa restrictions on Georgia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to restore postal links with Georgia and lift visa restrictions on Georgian nationals, Russia's foreign ministry said on Friday.

Russia lifts postal, visa restrictions on Georgia
Putin gave the order two days after Russia said it was establishing closer ties with the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a step a senior U.S. official called "political mischief" and which NATO urged Moscow to reverse.

"It (the lifting of restrictions) is a convincing confirmation of Moscow's constructive policy towards Georgia, its constant striving to restore traditional, good neighbourly ties with Georgia," the ministry said in a statement.

Ties between the two former Soviet states plummeted to an all-time low in late 2006 after Georgia arrested four Russian servicemen on spying charges. Moscow retaliated by cutting all rail, aviation and postal links with the country.

It also imposed restrictions on issuing entry visas to the hundreds of thousands of Georgians who work in Russia. Last month Russia resumed passenger flights to Georgia and said it was reopening shipping links.

Russia did not lift a ban, imposed before the spying row, on imports of Georgian wine and mineral water, a major source of revenue for the Caucasus mountains state.

The foreign mimistry said Putin had ordered his government to consult Georgia on allowing the food products back onto the Russian market.

Last Mod: 18 Nisan 2008, 16:30
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