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22 Nov 2016

Belarus, Russia in talks over mutual recognition of visas

MINSK, 22 November (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia are in talks over a draft agreement on mutual recognition of visas, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov said after the joint meeting of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and Russia in Minsk on 22 November.

Sergei Lavrov explained why some foreign nationals face problems when trying to enter Russia from Belarus. He noted that today those willing to cross the Russian border need to have a valid visa and produce it at an international border crossing point.

“We have been promoting the idea of a single visa space for a long time. Now we are considering a draft agreement on mutual recognition of visas. A single visa space will certainly resolve theses issues,” Sergey Lavrov said.

He noted that while the agreement has not yet been signed, it is necessary to develop temporary measures. “We can set up temporary checkpoints for foreign citizens crossing our border. All these issues will be addressed at a meeting of the interstate interagency working group on drafting recommendations for coordinated migration policy,” Sergey Lavrov added.

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei noted that the open border between the two countries is an important achievement of the Belarus-Russia Union State. “But there are problems with the movement of third-country nationals. We have agreed to take concrete measures to address these problems in the near future,” the Belarusian diplomat noted.

Vladimir Makei expressed hope that the ministries of Belarus and Russia will develop the necessary approaches and an algorithm of action for the near future. “There should be no such problems in our relations. Belarus is interested in this as we are a transit country,” he emphasized.

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