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02:45 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Putin views reopening of Russia-Georgia border as positive sign

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the reopening of the only land border crossing between Russia and Georgia was a sign of improving ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the reopening of the only land border crossing between Russia and Georgia was a sign of improving ties between the two countries.

"This is a new facility, it creates good new opportunities for direct contacts between people... This is the first stage, an act symbolizing the development of Russian-Georgian ties," Putin said at a meeting with Georgian opposition leader Nino Burdzhanadze.

The former speaker of the Georgian parliament, once an ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili, came to Moscow for talks with Russian political leaders, saying that such dialogue was crucial for Georgia.

"I believe that in this complicated situation, the steps that ease the life of ordinary people are very important, and they should be taken," Burdzhanadze said.

Russia closed the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the border with Georgia for reconstruction in July 2006. Tbilisi called the move an "unfriendly act." The checkpoint was reopened Monday.

Burdzhanadze is one of a growing number of Georgian opposition leaders seeking to start political dialogue between Russia and Georgia, calling it crucial for Georgia's future. Former Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli has visited Moscow several times in recent months.

However, Georgian parliamentary deputies loyal to Saakashvili have already accused Burdzhanadze of "treason" over her Moscow visit.

MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti)