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Sergei Lavrov has once again urged Georgia to release three Russian servicemen detained for alleged visa regime violations
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has once again urged Georgia to release three Russian servicemen detained for alleged visa regime violations, the ministry said in a press release Friday. According to the press release, Lavrov called for the release of the servicemen, apprehended on their way to a Russian military base earlier this week, at a meeting with the visiting Georgian Prime Minister, Zurab Nogaideli. Under Georgian laws, the officers could face three months in pretrial detention and a five-year imprisonment sentence if convicted. Lavrov and Nogaideli also discussed prospects for resolving the long-standing conflicts between Georgia and its breakaway, self-proclaimed republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both believed to be closely linked with Moscow. "The sides emphasized the importance of solving related problems with exclusively peaceful means, through political dialogue and with the use of existing negotiation and peacekeeping formats," the press release said. The two officials also discussed challenges facing bilateral relations and relations within the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of twelve former Soviet republics. Nogaideli's meeting with Lavrov came ahead of CIS prime-ministerial talks in Moscow and amidst increasing calls from lawmakers in his country to withdraw from the Russia-dominated alliance.
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