|Georgia Opens Border Crossing for All Russians to Boost Tourism|
|July 05, 2011|
By Helena Bedwell
Georgia opened the Larsi border crossing to travelers from throughout Russia to boost tourism and improve relations between the two countries that fought a five-day war in 2008.
Georgia opened the crossing for visa-free travel by citizens of the neighboring North Caucasus Federal District last year. Beginning this month, residents of other Russian regions can cross into Georgia at Larsi, obtaining visas upon arrival, Deputy Foreign Minister Tornike Gordadze said today by phone.
“Georgia wants to show that it is a civilized and free country and we welcome everyone here,” Alexander Rondeli, head of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies said on the phone today.
Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia in September 2008, shortly after the two countries fought a five- day war over the separatist region of South Ossetia. Russia cut all transport links with Georgia in October 2006 after Georgia arrested four Russian servicemen on suspicion of espionage.
Airzena Georgian Airways, Georgia’s national airline, previously resumed direct flights between Tbilisi and Moscow. It started weekly direct flights between Moscow and the port city of Batumi last month.
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