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Onischchenko Mulls Georgia Visit

Chief health inspector Gennady Onishchenko might visit Georgia at the final stages of inspection of Georgian enterprises producing wine and mineral water, the Georgian agriculture minister said Thursday.

"It might happen, though Onishchenko himself is to make the decision," David Kirvalidze said, Interfax reported.

Experts from the Russian consumer protection service will continue inspecting wineries in the Georgian region of Kakheti on Thursday and were scheduled to leave  Friday, the minister said.

"As per the agreement, the Russian experts will not make a statement on the visit until they return to Moscow," Kirvalidze said.

In seven to 10 days, a second delegation will arrive in Georgia to inspect the remaining factories willing to export wine to Russia, he said.

"Then the inspection will be completed entirely," he said.

Onishchenko said earlier Thursday that he planned to visit Georgia after his experts return to Moscow.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said earlier that he sees no sense in allowing Russian experts to verify the quality of Georgian wine in Georgia.

"Onishchenko did not visit us himself, but their delegation has arrived, and our officials and representatives of wineries kowtowed to them, offered them wine to taste with trembling hands, and looked eagerly at their reaction, whether they liked it or not," Saakashvili said at a news conference Tuesday evening.

"Everybody knows what Russian officials need," Saakashvili said. "Put something in their pocket, and they will go home happy. Do you really think they came here to inspect something?"

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