Russia restores postal links with Georgia, ending embargo

Russia Monday restored postal links with neighboring Georgia, ending an embargo imposed by Moscow as part of its sanctions against the Western-leaning former Soviet republic.

Russia restores postal links with Georgia, ending embargo
"Russian Post has officially informed Georgia that it decided to resume direct postal service between the two countries as of April 21," Deputy Economic Development Minister Vato Lezhava said.

The move was planned before Russia said Friday that it was moving to lift sanctions against Georgia and followed the resumption of direct air links between the two countries last month.

Money transfers through the Russian postal system - vital for the large amount of remittances from Georgians working in Russia - were also restored.

Russia's foreign ministry said Friday President Vladimir Putin had ordered " practical steps to normalize relations with Georgia," including the restoration of postal links, lifting visa restrictions and holding "consultations" on a Russian ban on imports of Georgian products.

Tbilisi dismissed the move, saying it was an attempt by Moscow to distract international attention from Russia's support for separatists in two rebel Georgian regions.

Russia announced last week it would increase cooperation in trade and culture with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and would provide "complete protection" to Russians living there, a reference to the many local residents given Russian passports.

The move drew widespread international condemnation and calls from North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the U.S. for its reversal.

The sanctions were imposed in 2006 when Georgia arrested four Russian military officers on spying charges and included a ban on Georgian wines that are prized in the region.

Tensions between the two countries have soared over Georgia's ambition to join the NATO military alliance, a move Moscow opposes.

Agencies
Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2008, 17:46
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