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Georgian Minister Meets Iranian Ambassador After Controversial Remarks

TBILISI -- Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani (eds: a woman) has met with Iranian ambassador in Tbilisi Abbas Talebifar amid a row over controversial remarks.

The meeting on March 10 in Tbilisi came a day after the Iranian Embassy released a statement criticizing Tsulukiani for making what it said were "unprofessional and unthoughtful" remarks which have also been slammed by rights groups in Georgia as "xenophobic."

In a televised interview last month Tsulukani said that the number of tourists from China, Iraq, Iran and Egypt had declined in Georgia due to the ongoing reforms aimed to secure a visa-free travel regime with the EU and "to let well-wishers, tourists," and investors travel to Georgia.

After the meeting with Talebifar, Tsulukani said that the embassy’s statement was not the main topic of discussion.

"It was only noted at the meeting that original text of the statement looks different from its Georgian version," Tsulukani said, stressing that "friendly relations between the two countries are above all the other issues."

With reporting by

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