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Russian Wine Inspectors May Withdraw Over Saakashvili Remarks

An employee stands in front of bottles at a winery in Tbilisi. (file photo)
The Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor may withdraw its inspectors from Georgia because of the Georgian president's statements criticizing their work.

Rospotrebnadzor experts are inspecting Georgian companies that want to resume wine exports to Russia.

Rospotrebnadzor chief Gennady Onishchenko said on February 27 that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's statements insulted Russian specialists and they could be withdrawn if the statements continue.

On February 27, Saakashvili made statements questioning why Russian experts should be in Georgia to inspect its wine.

Russia imposed a ban on wine and mineral-water imports from Georgia in 2006, citing quality concerns.

At that time, ties between Moscow and Tbilisi were strained because of Georgia's closer relations with Europe and NATO.

Tbilisi broke diplomatic relations with Moscow after August 2008's military conflict over Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RIA-Novosti