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Armenia, Georgia Said To Discuss Border Reopening


Armenia -- The Armenian-Georgian border crossing at Bavra, October 1, 2017.

Armenia and Georgia are discussing the possibility of reopening their land border closed one year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Both neighboring states shut down their border crossings for foreign travellers in March 2020 following the outbreak of the pandemic. The Georgian-Armenian border has since remained open for only cargo shipments.

The Armenian government completely lifted its entry ban foreigners in January this year.

By contrast, Georgia still maintains most of its travel restrictions. It allows only the citizens of some countries, including Armenia, to enter the country by air after testing negative for COVID-19.

Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava said on Monday that her government is now considering reopening the country’s border crossings.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazian said last week that Yerevan is engaged in “very active contacts” with Tbilisi over the possible reopening of the Georgian-Armenian border.

“Both sides are committed to solving this issue,” Ayvazian told Armenian lawmakers. “Obviously the pandemic is still having a negative impact. But there are also some technical problems. I’m sure that they can be quickly resolved.”

An Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Tuesday that the “active contacts” between the two countries are continuing. The official did not say when the Armenian-Georgian border could be reopened.

Mekhak Apresian, the head of the Armenian Tourism Federation, welcomed the possible border reopening. He said that it would boost the tourism sectors of both countries reeling from massive losses incurred as a result of the pandemic.

According to official statistics, the number of tourists visiting Armenia and Georgia plummeted by more than 80 percent last year.

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