Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • LIVE: French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • French journalist tells of release from captivity in Syria

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

Europe

Only usable land border between Georgia and Russia reopens

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-01

After being closed for three years, the only usable land border crossing between Georgia and Russia reopened on Monday, restoring a vital route between Russia and the strategic South Caucasus.

AFP - The only usable land border crossing between Georgia and Russia reopened Monday after more than three years of closure, restoring a vital route between Russia and the strategic South Caucasus.

The crossing, known as Verkhny Lars in Russia and Darial Gorge in Georgia, reopened at 7:00 am local time (0300 GMT), an AFP reporter witnessed.

The checkpoint runs through a narrow pass in the Caucasus mountains, about 170 kilometres (105 miles) from the Georgian capital Tbilisi, amid craggy snow-covered peaks.

After a brief ceremony shortly before dawn, border police sat in roadside booths waiting, but no one was on hand to cross the border.

It is the only land border crossing that does not pass through Georgia's Russian-backed rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which were the focus of the bitter Georgia-Russia war in 2008.

The two countries late last year reached a deal under Swiss and Armenian mediation to reopen the checkpoint.

The deputy head of the regional police, Giorgi Gegechkori, told AFP that the re-opening of the crossing was a step towards better relations with Russia, but only a small one.

"It's a small step in that direction, but what really needs to happen is for Russia to end its occupation of Georgian territory," he said after attending the opening ceremony.

The crossing will be open to citizens of countries in the ex-Soviet grouping the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as long as they don't require visas for either Russia or Georgia. Georgian and Russian citizens will require visas to cross but will be unable to obtain them at the border.

Russia closed the checkpoint in July 2006 in a move Georgian officials said was motivated by tensions over Tbilisi's efforts to build closer ties with the West.

Armed conflict between the two ex-Soviet neighbours erupted in August 2008, when Russian forces poured into Georgia to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake South Ossetia.

Russia later mostly withdrew to within South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow recognised as independent states, a move so far followed by only a handful of countries.

The closing of the crossing dealt a heavy blow to Georgia's neighbour Armenia, which relied on the crossing as its only overland route to Russia, its key economic partner.

Russia also cut air links with Georgia during the war, only four months after they had resumed following an 18-month embargo. Several charter flights were allowed to operate between the two countries in January, but full air links have not yet been restored.

A new checkpoint was built on the Georgian side of the border last year with 2.4 million dollars in aid from the United States.

"This facility is equipped with new modern equipment so we will be able to effectively ensure security on the border," Gegechkori said.
 

Date created : 2010-03-01

  • GEORGIA - RUSSIA

    Air traffic re-opened with first direct flight since 2008

    Read more

  • GEORGIA

    Border with Russia to reopen, Georgian foreign ministry says

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)