Russia Concerned over Visa Delays for its Troops in Georgia

Civil Georgia, Georgia
Oct 30, 2004

Russia Concerned over Visa Delays for its Troops in Georgia

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern on October 30
regarding, as Moscow put it, Georgia’s `delay’ to grant entry visas to
the Russian servicemen, who are expected to be deployed in the Russian
military base in southern Georgian town of Akhalkalaki.

`We think that the delay in granting of visas to Russian servicemen and
their families is unjustified and politically motivated. We hope that
official Tbilisi will take a constructive position in this regard,’ the
Russian Foreign Ministry information note issued on October 30, reads.

`Granting of visas needs particular time,’ the Georgian Foreign
Ministry official told Civil Georgia. Official said that the Ministry
will make a statement regarding the issue on November 1.

Reportedly, over 400 servicemen, currently deployed on the Russian
military base in the Armenian city of Gyumri, are waiting for the
Georgian entry visas.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s information note, Georgia
explains delay in issuing visas with the fact that the number of
Russian servicemen, which will be deployed in Akhalkalaki, exceeds the
number of those soldiers, which will be replaced.

Deputy Commander of the Headquarters of Group of Russian Troops in
Trans Caucasus, Col. Vladimir Kuparadze told Russian daily Nezavisimaya
Gazeta that in previous years there were less soldiers at the
Akhalkalaki military base than it is considered with the agreement
between Russia and Georgia.

`Now more soldiers will be deployed in Akhalkalaki, but their numbers
will not exceed those envisaged by the agreement,’ Col. Kuparadze said.