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Russia and Georgia each kick out three diplomats

Three diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Georgia are returning to Moscow. Georgia demanded the diplomats be expelled after accusing Russia of being behind the country's recent unrest – a charge Moscow has dismissed.

In response, Russia has expelled three Georgian diplomats, and the Russian FM, Sergey Lavrov, said these latest developments could damage the relationship between the two countries.

The diplomats left Georgia via Yerevan as there are no direct flights between Georgia and Russia.

One of them admitted that he had really been in contact with the Gamsakhurdia family, whose youngest son is wanted by Georgia for plotting a coup. But the Russian diplomat stressed that they'd just spoken about family matters.

Meanwhile, Georgia's government is also to hold a second round of talks with the opposition on lifting the current state of emergency. The first talks took place on Saturday.
Officials promised to do everything to guarantee a fair presidential election, which is scheduled for January 5.
The state of emergency was imposed after government troops and anti-government demonstrators clashed violently in the capital Tbilisi.  The crackdown includes a ban on independent news broadcasts and public gatherings.

Still, the opposition is able to use other sources of media, like newspapers and the Internet, and some very critical editorials have appeared in the newspapers over the last few days.
The state of emergency is expected to be lifted soon, maybe even on Monday.