|Saakashvili Says Georgian Wine, Water May Return to Russia|
|March 23, 2010|
By Helena Bedwell
March 23 (Bloomberg) -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Russia may lift bans on some of the country’s agricultural products because of a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Russia’s “obligations toward Kazakhstan and Belarus” in a customs accord that takes effect on July may allow for the shipment of Georgian products between the states, Saakashvili’s spokeswoman Manana Manjgaladze told reporters in Tbilisi today.
Russia banned imports of Georgian wine and water in March 2006 as relations between the former federation partners soured. Russian officials claimed the wine was unfit for consumption.
Georgia, which used to ship about 80 percent of its wine to Russia, said the ban was politically motivated and continued to export the products to other former Soviet states.
Road, rail, air, sea and postal links were subsequently cut by Russia after Georgia arrested four Russian military personnel, accusing them of spying. The $12.8 billion Georgian economy suffered about $1 billion in damage when its army was routed by Russia in an August 2008 war over the region of South Ossetia.
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