Russia, Georgia To Hold Consultations On Russian Experts Possible Visit To Lugar Lab
Faizan Hashmi 2 days ago Fri 14th June 2019 | 10:30 PM
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and the Georgian prime minister's special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, have agreed to hold bilateral consultations to discuss a possible visit by Russian experts to Georgia's Richard Lugar biological laboratory, which is funded by Washington, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday
Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns that Georgia's Lugar laboratory, which is located close to Russia's borders, might be used by the Pentagon and Tbilisi to run clandestine tests and develop biological weapons.
"In line with the suggestion of the Georgian side inviting Russian specialists to visit the Richard Lugar biological laboratory in Georgia, it was decided that additional bilateral consultations be conducted," the statement said.
In September, former Georgian Minister of State Security Igor Giorgadze said the Lugar center might have carried out lethal experiments on Hepatitis C patients. Giorgadze said he had information that 30 individuals had died in December 2015, and 43 more in April and August of 2016, all after being given treatments at the laboratory. The causes of death remain unconfirmed.
Both the United States and Georgia have denied the accusations. Tbilisi invited experts from 17 countries to inspect the lab in November, but Russia declined, saying that this inspection was a cover-up to hide the true activities of the facility.