TBILISI, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian border guards refused on Wednesday to let in two Russian journalists, who were travelling as part of a delegation representing a public commission on the consequences of last year's Russia-Georgia conflict.
RIA Novosti's CIS and Baltic States Department chief, Alan Kasayev, who is a member of the delegation, was allowed into the country but said Maxim Shevchenko, an anchorman for Russia's Channel 1 TV, and Vladimir Mamontov, the editor-in-chief of the Izvestiya newspaper, were not allowed through passport control on arrival at Tbilisi airport.
Shevchenko and Mamontov were forced to return on the next flight to Armenia, as there have been no direct air routes between Russia and Georgia since 2006. Flights were renewed for a few months in 2008 until last August's war.
"A border control guard who didn't identify himself said Shevchenko and Mamontov could not be allowed into Georgia, citing Article 14 of an unnamed law," Kasayev said.
The delegation was to meet with Georgian representatives in Tbilisi on Thursday.
"The actions of Georgia's border control have cast serious doubts as to whether social dialogue can continue, as this delegation is the only instrument that exists today to alleviate Georgian-Russian relations," Kasayev said.
"I have no rational explanation for the actions of the border control officials," he added.
The president of the media group Georgia Times, Malkhaz Tulashvili, who is a member of the Georgian delegation, said the incident was a "planned provocation aimed at disrupting the social committee's work, which certain people don't like, as they do not want Georgia and Russia to have normal and friendly relations."
Tulashvili said the incident was "an infringement of human rights, freedom of movement and freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution."