14 Jun 2019 13:50

Georgian PM's special rep, Russian deputy PM discuss countries' customs monitoring agreement

TBILISI. June 14 (Interfax) - Special Representative of the Georgian Prime Minister for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin discussed the implementation of the bilateral customs monitoring agreement of 2011 at their meeting in Prague on Thursday.

"It was noted that the sides should promote the activity of the experts' working group for the sake of the agreement's successful implementation," the Georgian government administration said in a statement on Friday following the Abashidze-Karasin meeting.

The governments of Georgia and Russia signed the bilateral agreement 'On Main Principles of the Mechanism of Customs Administering and Trade Monitoring' in Geneva on November 9, 2011. A neutral Swiss company, SGS, was tasked with monitoring cargo traffic across the Georgian-Russian border.

According to the statement, Abashidze and Karasin discussed bilateral trade and economic relations, transportation issues, and certain humanitarian problems. They emphasized the protection of interests and the settlement of problems experienced by Georgian companies in those areas.

"Considering Russia's constant criticism of the Lugar Laboratory (Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research Laboratory) operating in the vicinity of Tbilisi, Abashidze reaffirmed that the center welcomes representatives of all countries, including Russian scientists and experts," the statement said.

The date of the next meeting in Prague will be announced later.

Abashidze-Karasin meetings are the only form of direct official dialogue between Georgia and Russia. They are mostly dedicated to trade, economic, and humanitarian affairs. The first meeting took place in a suburb of Geneva in December 2012. All subsequent meetings have been held in Prague.