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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgia Bans May Be Lifted

A ban on Abkhaz wine imports and Borjomi mineral water could soon be lifted, the country's chief epidemiologist said Tuesday in a news conference, Interfax reported.

"I think that things from the direction of Georgia could soon be opened up, and I mean wine," said Gennady Onishchenko, going on to specify that he meant Abkhazia.

Onishchenko also said he was in favor of restarting the importation of Borjomi mineral water, although he added that nobody in Georgia has yet expressed any interest in this regard.

In a move widely viewed as politically motivated, a ban was imposed on wine and Borjomi mineral water coming from Georgia and Moldova last March after Onishchenko said they were found to contain traces of dangerous substances, including pesticides and heavy metals.

Discussing the possibility of renewed imports, Onishchenko said he would soon be accompanying an official delegation to Moldova to check up on changes made to the wine production system there.

In a shift of emphasis from earlier assertions by the country's health authorities, Onishchenko blamed many of the problems of imported wine on the Russian distributors.

In other comments, Onishchenko revealed that the number of people who died from alcohol poisoning in the first 11 months of last year actually decreased by 19.4 percent.