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Georgia Decries Economic Impact of Closed Border with Russia

The deputy chairwoman of the Georgian parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, Salome Samadashvili, said on 30 September that the Russian closure of the Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border has inflicted serious damage on the Georgian economy, Prime News reported.

The economic losses from the closure are estimated at roughly 4 million laris ($2.2 million) and have led to a widening disruption in regional trade as the border crossing post is an important transshipment point facilitating trade and cargo shipments between Russia and Armenia.

Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister Nika Tabatadze told the parliament that the Foreign Ministry and State Border Guard Department, in coordination with the National Security Council, were working with Russian officials to resolve the issue.

Freight traffic has been forced to use a longer alternative route through the Roki Tunnel in South Ossetia, a detour that effectively bypasses Georgian customs and security checkpoints.

The border-closure issue was also raised during the opening meeting of the Georgian-Armenian business association in Tbilisi on 30 September, Rustavi-2 television reported. The meeting was attended by Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and included a number of Armenian businessmen and parliamentarians.

(RFE/RL 01.x.04)

 
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