21 Jun 2019 11:21

Lukashenko met with Zourabichvili who interrupted visit to Minsk due to Tbilisi riots

MINSK. June 21 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Friday, the Belarusian state news agency BelTA said.

"Even though your visit is quite brief this time, I very much hope that you will find time in the near future to visit not only Minsk, but to tour our Belarus, too. The ambassador is very familiar with Belarus, with Minsk. He can tell and show [you] a great deal. He's like one of our own here," Lukashenko said at the start of the meeting.

Zourabichvili arrived in Belarus on Thursday and planned to return to Georgia on Saturday, June 22. The program of her visit additionally included a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas and Speaker of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Mikhail Myasnikovich. She was also expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Second European Games in Minsk. Zourabichvili's morning meeting with Rumas was cancelled

Georgian presidential press secretary Khatia Moistsrapishvili told reporters earlier that Zourabichvili was cutting short her visit to Belarus due to the events in Tbilisi.

Riots broke out in Tbilisi on Thursday in protest over the arrival of a Russian parliamentary delegation to attend a session of the General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). The Russian delegation was led by State Duma member Sergei Gavrilov. The session was held in the Georgian parliament headquarters, and Gavrilov addressed the participants from the seat of the parliament speaker, angering Georgian MPs and subsequently prompting clashes in Tbilisi.