Thursday, July 4, 2013

Iran: Georgia's unilateral abolishment of visa-free travel scheme 'insignificant'

04.07.2013. (Hvino Tour News) A senior Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday that Georgia's unilateral revoke of travel scheme with Iran is "insignificant."

"Georgia has in fact imposed an embargo against itself by unilaterally revoking a visa-free travel regime with Iran," Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of Iran Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Boroujerdi denounced Tbilisi's new measure as "insignificant," saying that "Since tourism industry is among the world's money- making industries, Georgia placed an embargo on itself by revoking visa-free entry for Iranians," according to the report.

"The number of Iranians travelling to Georgia is not so considerable that the unilateral abolishment of this agreement would be important," he added.

On Tuesday, Georgia's Foreign Ministry confirmed that Georgia had revoked a 45-day visa-free travel scheme with Iran, which was signed in November 2010 and had been in effect since Jan. 26, 2011.

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said on Wednesday that her country's unilateral abolishment of the visa-free travel scheme with Iran is temporary.

"We are facing new challenges and we have to formulate a new policy," the foreign minister said, adding that "Visa policies with various countries should be revised and regulated. A part of the policy is unilateral cancellation of visa processes with Iran. "

The number of Iranians visiting Georgia increased from 21,300 in 2010 to 89,600 in 2012 thanks to the scheme.

Starting from July 1 of this year, Iranians travelling to Georgia have to obtain a visa while the Georgians travelling to Iran still enjoy the visa-free scheme.

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili told the press on Wednesday that Tbilisi is keeping a good neighborly relationship with Tehran in parallel with observation of the UN sanctions against the country.

"We continue our good neighborly relations with Iran. At the same time we follow UN (sanctions) in order not to allow any black money or embargoed products to be delivered into Georgia," said the prime minister.

© HTN (Hvino Tour News)

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