26 Sep 2019 13:16

June incident delayed Russia's implementation of visa-free travel system for Georgia - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) - Russia was about to implement a visa-free travel system for Georgia, yet the incident which happened in the Georgian parliament in June pushed the plans back, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Kommersant.

President "Vladimir Putin decided we could do that so that our people could interact, establish contacts, and develop tourism. Yet the June incident pushed the entire process back," Lavrov said.

In his words, visa-free travel was practically approved, and the preparatory process "was complicated for apparent reasons."

He said he hoped that the June incident had only delayed the decision, but had not buried it.

"Politicians of sound mind have emerged and are gaining strength in Georgia. Let us see how things go," Lavrov said.

In June 2019, a number of opposition parties urged their followers to protest against the participation of a Russian parliamentary delegation led by State Duma deputy Sergei Gavrilov in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy after Gavrilov took the seat of the Georgian speaker of parliament at the session's opening ceremony. The opposition blamed the authorities and the speaker of the parliament for letting that happen.