Zurab Abashidze: It is unfortunate that the Russian side chose the Independence Day for making such a harsh statement

Zurab Abashidze, Russia's special envoy to Russia, said that Russian experts would be allowed to visit the Lugar Center only in accordance with the mechanisms and standards of the international convention, which means that other countries and representatives of international organizations are required to attend the visit.

As Abashidze explained, the visit of Russian specialists to the Lugar Center is possible only in a multilateral format, in full compliance with the standards and requirements of the Convention. According to him, Georgia acts in compliance with international norms and this is not only Georgia's demand.

"It is unfortunate that the Russian side chose the Independence Day for making such a harsh statement, but it is their choice. Information about the history of creation of the Lugar Community Health Research Center, its purposes and its owners, were provided in detail in the statement of the Foreign Ministry. This center plays an important role in the pandemic and our society is well aware of this. It is also unfortunate that the Russian side tries to downplay the importance of this center, which seems to serve Russia's foreign policy goals”, Abashidze said.

While visiting the Lugar Center in Georgia, Russian specialists should be allowed to enter all the buildings to get fully acquainted with the activities of the laboratory, - the Russian Foreign Ministry said in response to the statement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, which expressed readiness for inviting Russian specialists to the laboratory.

Russia also demands access to any document of the laboratory.

"Such a format would allow us to carry out real examination," reads the statement of the Ministry.

According to Russia, the visit should be carried out on a bilateral basis without the participation of representatives of other countries or international organizations. In addition, the Ministry said that Russia was waiting for an official response to the request, which was sent to the Georgian side in 2019.

Moscow drew attention to the fact that the Lugar Center is funded by Washington.

"Despite the fact that the Georgian authorities allegedly have full control of the laboratory, the research and experiments ongoing there are in fact supervised and funded by the US Department of Defense and its affiliated agencies," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the statement.

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