TBILISI -- Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's "readiness to improve' ties" with Tbilisi.
In a statement issued on December 19, Garibashvili commended Putin's comments on a possible return to visa-free travel between the two countries.
Putin said at his marathon press conference the same day that he saw "some signals coming from the new leadership of Georgia" that can help "normalize" Moscow-Tbilisi ties.
On December 20, Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Aleksi Petriashvili also welcomed Putin's statement.
But he added that possible visa-free travel to Russia for Georgians would not affect Georgia's strategic issues, which are, he told journalists, the "deoccupation of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Tbilisi's policy of integration with the European Union and NATO."
With reporting by Apsny.ge and Interfax